SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO – An unexpectedly competitive runoff campaign for Brazil’s presidency kicked off on Monday with leftist incumbent Dilma Rousseff and her pro-business rival Aecio Neves racing to win over supporters of an ousted third-place candidate and other voters frustrated with a stagnant economy.
Neves, a centrist senator who has pushed for greater trade and lower government spending but who had been widely written off until the last few days of the campaign, rode a late surge in support to a strong second place with 33.6 percent support in Sunday’s first round of voting.
He will face the leftist Rousseff, who won 41.6 percent support, in the Oct. 26 runoff that will decide what has been Brazil’s most unpredictable election in decades.
Rousseff remains a slight favorite due to her enduring support among the poor, but Neves is within striking distance.
Brazil’s main stock index <.BVSP> soared as much as 8 percent early on Monday, and the real currency gained as much as 3 percent as investors were cheered by the strong showing from the candidate they preferred all along.
Latin America’s largest economy has been stuck in a rut for nearly four years under Rousseff, and most of Brazil’s business community and Wall Street investors have made no secret of their desire for change.
Both remaining candidates immediately shifted their focus to the 21 percent of voters who backed the third-place finisher, environmentalist Marina Silva.
Silva’s campaign fell apart late in the race amid questions about her shifting views on major issues, but she remains admired by many voters and she could still help swing the election with an endorsement.
Top Rousseff aide Gilberto Carvalho told reporters on Sunday night that he had already spoken to the head of Silva’s Brazilian Socialist Party, Roberto Amaral, to ask for their support.
“He asked for calm and more time to talk with the party,” Carvalho said.
Most observers believe Rousseff has very little chance of winning formal backing from Silva, after unleashing a barrage of negative ads that contributed to her collapse.
Instead, her best hope may be for Silva to stay neutral, as she did after finishing third in the 2010 race, which could allow Rousseff to peel away her more left-leaning supporters.
Senior officials from Neves’ Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) are hoping for a formal endorsement and they expected to meet with leaders of Silva’s campaign on Monday, a party source told Reuters.
The two camps shared broadly similar market-friendly platforms and Silva’s campaign chief, Walter Feldman, is a former PSDB leader with enduring ties to the party.
Another Silva aide who wields huge influence with her, Eduardo Giannetti, told reporters on Sunday night he would support Neves.
“I don’t think it would be good for Brazil to have four more years of (Rousseff),” Giannetti said, according to the website for Veja magazine. “Now we have to re-establish confidence. Our best chance for that is with (Neves).”
BATTLE BETWEEN VISIONS
The runoff will be a battle between opposing visions for Brazil: the state-led capitalism of the ruling Workers’ Party, and the market-friendly policies promised by Neves and the PSDB.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.