By Sarah Brown, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The 2014 elections will take place on October 5th, and will see the election the next Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro as well. There are seven candidates jostling for the position with Luiz Fernando Pezão and Anthony Garotinho currently neck-and-neck at 25 percent according to a recent opinion poll conducted by the Data Folha institute.
The Brazilian voting system is complex and involves hundreds of thousands of candidates for all the positions throughout the country, although in the final weeks it is likely that the new Ficha Limpa (Clean Record) law may thin the pack some. For the 27 state governorships, the selection has significantly less profiles to choose from, even in the hotly contended Rio de Janeiro.
Until now, Garotinho, from the PR party, has consistently won all opinion polls of the last few months. He promises to reinforce career planning in schools, better state universities, construct ten thousand new house per year and improve life quality inside the favelas. Appealing to a cause close to the population, he further insists he will reduce taxes, invest in public transport and enhance police training.
Yet Pezão, the PMDB party candidate that succeeded Sergio Cabral after his resignation, aims to expand the education system and interlink it to the employment market, offering better channels for job seekers. His assurance of better transport links for the favelas proved popular, as well as his vow to construct nearly two thousand new houses.
He also commits to better security through the improvement of the UPPs therefore bringing “quality public service” to inhabitants of the favelas communities that make up nearly 25 percent of Rio’s population.
Marcelo Crivella, candidate from the PRB party, sits behind with nineteen percent of the surveyed votes. He promises the expansion of the housing program “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (My House, My Life) that targets better homes for the lower-income citizens. He also aims to “create work where people live and create homes where people work.”
Adalmir Alves, doorman at a residential building in Rio, says that Crivella will have his vote. “Voting is difficult as all the politicians are corrupt”, shares Alves to The Rio Times. “However, Crivell does not think about the middle class or the rich people. He considers the poor people and how to improve their lives.” He adds, “The salaries here are terrible. Crivella offers an improvement. He seems genuine.”
At twelve percent in the opinion polls, Lindberg Farias from the PT party swears education is his main priority as well as a transparent government. Tarciso Motta, candidate of the PSOL party has two percent of the surveyed votes, whereas Dayse Oliveira from the PSTU party has just one percent.
When asked about Oliveira’s campaign, Fernando Reis, Data Analyst in Rio, said he believed it was her controversial views that undermined her performance. “Her radical ideas about legalizing drugs and ending the UPPs is not progression for our city,” he declared. “Pezão has more grounded ideas by looking to improve security realistically through better UPPs.”
Finally, Ney Hunes from the PCB party received zero percent, a steady low for the candidate of the last few months. The rest of the surveyed opinions (sixteen percent) were undecided.