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Montevideo, September 23rd 2018 - 14:23 UTC

Brazil's currency and stock market recover on Thursday, helped by opinion poll

Friday, June 29th 2018 - 08:54 UTC
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The Brazilian real climbed almost 1% against the dollar on Thursday, as a rout on Wednesday led to a technical correction and a key poll showed Brazil's left failing to gain steam in presidential elections scheduled for October. Read full article

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  • Enrique Massot

    Mercopress forgot to mention Ibope's scenario without Lula shows there would be 33 per cent of votes “branco e nulo.”

    Which is exactly Lula's vote intention -- 33 per cent -- as shown in another scenario including the former president as candidate.

    In this scenario, Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) appears in a distant second place, getting 15 per cent of the votes.

    Of course, such a somber scenario could not be allowed to happen, and patriotic judges are making sure to keep Lula under lock and key.

    https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/eleicoes/2018/noticias/2018/06/28/ibope-sem-lula-bolsonaro-tem-17-marina-13-ciro-8-e-alckmin-6.htm?cmpid=copiaecola

    Jun 30th, 2018 - 05:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Even with Lula, 22% would vote blank or null. According to Datafolha, 40% of would-be Lula voters plan to vote blank if he isn't included. Which is arguably a bad thing if they care about their civil rights at all.

    Jun 30th, 2018 - 09:44 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    When you analyze who the people are that make up the 33% (‘brancos e nulos’), you quickly understand why – very simple really…..Feb 2018 stats show that over 20% of the population (40 million +) survives on (or receives) the ‘bolsa família’ …They are concentrated in small towns (up to 50,000 inhabitants) and represent 1/3 of the population in 11 States, all in the N & NE (mostly in MA, with 48% // PI and AC, with 41% each), the two poorest regions and that are known to have the lowest level of schooling and revenue per family…which most likely makes them the more likely to be ignorant, and easily led to believe they’ll lose the benefit if Lula does not win (which would indicate that they don’t even understand he can’t run).
    From this, we can safely conclude that without those who receive the BF, Lula has no where near the preference of 33% of electorate, who would allegedly cancel their vote if he doesn’t run. And Lula’s rejection is 31%, only trailing behind Collor and Bolsonaro (32 % each).
    And to stop for just a moment and consider that the future of Brazil could be in the hands of the most ignorant, those that contribute nothing, is not a particularly good prospect.
    Quite frankly, I don't believe that the PT supporters, who are notoriously the most fanatic, would give up the chance, or their right, to vote for their 'hero', so I think these polls would seem to be kinda misleading.

    Jul 01st, 2018 - 10:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Have you asked anyone why they want to vote for Lula this time? Its well known his policies and he himself (being 'one of them') appeal to poorer groups in society. The fact many plan to vote blank if he doesn't stand suggests they do understand he can't run, and would rather make a protest vote than pick another candidate, even another PT candidate.

    Besides that, the 22% of people planning to vote blank are a separate group, probably those who think all candidates are corrupt and don't want to vote for any of them.

    Anyway, you can't just ignore those who receive the BF; they are still part of society and just as affected by government policy (if anything more affected), so they deserve to have a say in it. The only reasonable solution is to improve education and try and create more jobs so they can contribute more to society.

    Jul 02nd, 2018 - 09:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    I now know better than to try to convert 'petistas'....it is a useless proposition because if they still support him after all that's happened, they deserve him.
    His initial popularity, which got hime elected, was based on the fact that he acted and spoke like the poor....and his miraculous promises did the rest. True, now the 'petistas' might be saying they'd prefer to annul their vote (presuming the DO understand the possibility that he won't be able to run), but even Lula's (still) undeclared (but most lilely) substitute, Haddad, has 2% in the polls.
    Ok, so if you are prepared to believe that 22% are disgusted with all politicians - which is very likely - Lula's absence would only increase the 'brancos e nulos' by 11%...
    I'm not ignoring those who receive the BF...they represent 30 million votes - but am just explaining where I think most his support lies, and unfortunately it is in the portion of society that contributes nothing. More education, more jobs...exactly what I believe in and have said so on many occasions. But under the PT, the part of the population that received the BF just increased, which undermines the notion that Lula was building something sustainable...the PT governments were just a house of cards.

    Jul 03rd, 2018 - 06:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I don't mean try to convert petistas, just ask why they still support Lula, and whether they receive the BF or not. I'm curious how many of his supporters believe he is innocent, and how many don't care and would vote for him anyway.

    Anyway, whatever got Lula elected originally, he was very popular while he was president, so he must have won more people over. Now his popularity has fallen again but it's still way higher than the other candidates, so probably not just his hardcore supporters. I wonder how much they really contribute? Not everyone who receives the BF is unemployed, and plenty of really important jobs pay badly.

    If the number getting the BF kept increasing under Lula, it must have been because he expanded who qualified, because we know poverty fell substantially (and the economy grew). Now that unemployment is much higher, has the number of people receiving the BF increased substantially?

    RE your comment in http://en.mercopress.com/2018/06/22/malvinas-question-dispute-new-phase-in-argentina-uk-relations-will-create-favorable-conditions/comments

    The way the government arranges the rail franchises in the UK causes some of the problems. Instead of giving them to companies who've provided a good service and have high ratings from customers, they go to whoever offers to pay the government the most. Then when it is not so profitable as the company thought, they cut services or give up the franchise.

    And I still think the rules on TV airtime can't be that big a disadvantage to smaller parties, or there wouldn't be so damn many of them.

    Jul 03rd, 2018 - 11:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @BJ:

    REF: “ I don't believe that the PT supporters, who are notoriously the most fanatic, would give up the chance, or their right, to vote for their 'hero'”:

    SO THE LOGICAL “NEXT-STEP” IS?:
    https://i1.wp.com/www.humorpolitico.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Assessor-Toffoli.jpg?resize=580%2C411&ssl=1

    Jul 04th, 2018 - 10:16 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Quite frankly, have no desire to listen to 'petistas', and as I pointed out, nearly all who receive the BF are up in the N & NE...the fact is that BF, other than presumably putting food on their table, has contributed little else...and definitely not towards getting them “out of poverty”.

    “how many of his supporters believe he is innocent, and how many don't care and would vote for him anyway”.
    I think that most know or at least 'suspect' he's a crook, but as they are not all that well-informed, they probably believe - and correctly - that all other politicians are crooks too.

    “...he was very popular while he was president, so he must have won more people over...”
    I am not disputing that fact, what I'm referring to to is “why”....it's pretty obvious, don't you think ? wouldn't you, if poor, blindly support the person who put enough food on your table, to keep you from starving ? Not to mention the fake news that if not re-elected you lose the benefit ? and again I point out, he was not doling out 'his' money, but taxpayer's...no more than a very basic duty of government.

    “…his popularity has fallen again but it's still way higher than the other candidates, so probably not just his hardcore supporters”.
    His popularity has fallen, but still hovers around the traditional numbers…provided you can rely on the accuracy of the polls.

    “…it must have been because he expanded who qualified”….yes, but the question is “how”…by lowering the bar for more people to qualify, and to not monitor those who kept on receiving the benefit fraudulently.

    The smaller parties only need, say 3 reps in Congress, to receive about US$ 2.8 million/election...their local campaigns would be very cheap, leaving most in the pockets of their leaders...wouldn't about US$ 500 thousand /year be enough reason to get into politics, with or without much TV airtime ?

    Re the UK RR, by giving the franchise not to those who provide good service, but to who pays most, sounds like Brazil...

    Jul 04th, 2018 - 05:30 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If I was that poor, then yes I probably would support whoever put food on the table. There's time to think about education and the economy after you have enough food for you and your children. And if previous governments had not neglected this basic duty (and I agree it is one), then Lula doing it could not have made such an impression. But he wasn't only popular among the poor, all the media says he had a 90% approval rating at the end of his second term, and he won his elections convincingly. (And he'd surely win this one too, were he allowed to stand.)

    I can't find any recent stats, but I bet there are a substantial number of BF recipients in SP state, just because it has such a high population. More than the North, Central-West, or South regions have. Did Lula increase the amount you could earn while still qualifying, or what?

    “The smaller parties only need, say 3 reps in Congress, to receive about US$ 2.8 million/election...their local campaigns would be very cheap”

    I don't know how elections work in Brasil. Are there parties that only have candidates in one small area? I'm sure that would reduce the cost a lot. But how do they get to that magic number of 3 reps to get the money in the first place? Persuade people to defect from existing parties?

    As for the rail franchise, it's who pays the most to the government, I don't think the ministers are getting a personal benefit, but who knows? Ordinary people in Britain don't encounter much corruption; the most common is tradesmen wanting to be paid in cash to avoid taxes, but I think there is a lot more at the top.

    Jul 04th, 2018 - 10:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “There's time to think abt education 'n the economy after you have enough food....”
    100% right, but Lula was not instrumental in “improving” the economy - AFAIK, it was far more the natural sequence of progress and specific policies established by the previous president, which would probably have continued, even without the PT....If what Lula claims to have 'built“ were sustainable, it would not have collapsed due to a political crisis, neither would the crisis have occurred....which only did, thanks to populism and gross incompetence.
    The government prior to Lula's got Brazil on the right track, but Lula, ”overwhelmed” with the numbers (taxes & budget) and his personal ambition, managed to destroy a good thing - took him 10 yrs, but he managed it.
    His rating by the end of 2010, had already been corroded by the 'mensalão', but the poor (the ”not-so-well' informed), as now, still support him. But I insist, not because of “excellent performance”.

    21% of the population receives the BF; 66.7% of the total expenditure goes to 15 N & NE states : Mostly to : MA, w/ 6.9 million population, costs R$ 194 million/month ; BA, 15 million people, costs R$ 309 million; 33.3% goes to the other 12 states, in S, SE and W.Central regions ; SC, 6.9 million people, R$ 18 million/mth ; PR, 11.2 million people, R$ 51 million ; SP, 44.7 million people (20% of Brazil’s population), R$ 215 million; and MG, which divides the NE 'n SE regions, 20 million people, R$ 165 million. MA costs, proportionately, 5.8 times what SP does. So yes, the BF is really concentrated in the N & NE...exactly where Lula is popular. Lula increased the BF (yearly) by abt double the inflation rate.
    “...parties that only have candidates in one small area ? yes, more or less regional following.

    One rep is enough to start sharing the fund. Used 3 – not difficult to elect - to show the kind of money involved.

    Personal tax evasion, while still a crime, is perhaps less pernicious than political corruption

    Jul 05th, 2018 - 07:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I think a lot of the growth in the economy was due to the commodities boom, but some was due to Lula's policies. And even if they weren't perfect, for example neglecting reforms to the pension system, we don't know that anyone else would have done any better. Temer took over from Dilma 2 years ago now, and unemployment and violence are still sky-high, so it's not like he's made a massive improvement.

    But I think we should wait till the recession is over before making a judgement. If poverty declines again once the economy improves, and especially if avoiding extreme poverty becomes the new normal, then Lula will still have improved things. Like we are better off for having the NHS, even if not every policy of that government worked out great in the end.

    Anyway, it's obvious the recession and corruption scandals have seriously dented Lula's popularity, maybe it has gone down faster with the better-off, I don't know. And I think we were both right about the BF. More goes to the NE, but SP still gets a substantial amount, although a much lower percentage of the population receives it.

    Lula increased the amount each family received, then? But did he also increase the number of recipients?

    As for tax evasion, it depends how much there is. I heard that in Greece it had become so common that those who did pay felt like mugs. At that point it becomes a downwards spiral with disastrous effects for the country as a whole, and I think it's important if you are going to make people pay taxes to enforce them fairly on everyone. It avoids resentment and contempt for the law.

    Jul 05th, 2018 - 09:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    The commodity boom carried Lula on its shoulders, no merit of his. The stage for the commodity boom was set before Lula took over, but he was who benefited from it. He never gave agriculture it’s due importance until he saw the revenue it provided.

    It’s not a matter of doing better, or worse, but Lula promised he would do all the much-needed reforms, which calmed the market, but like most before him, he ignored them - his popularity amongst the poor was more important to him.

    Re Temer, two things : never, in recent history, has Brazil been hit so hard, making his task far more difficult than any other president’s, and what could he do with such a hostile, money-grabbing Congress ? Lula likes to pat himself on the back and say that he did what other presidents, etc, didn’t do in 500 years…as if Brazil started from scratch when he arrived….a tad presumptuous don’t you think ?

    The BF in MA costs R$ 28,00 per inhabitant, in SP only R$ 4.80 …which is ‘far less’ substantial than up north. As I said, before, by lowering the bar and demanding less obligations as counter-parts, it’s obvious he increased the number of BF recipients…it was to the PT’s advantage to do so..

    One cause of generalized tax evasion stems from over-taxation with little or no return…but people who are employed /receive a salary are unable to hide revenue or under-declare, this being far easier for people who own a business and can resort to all sorts of accounting gimmicks to pay less tax.. Again, it’s the rich that are in a position to take advantage of it.

    Jul 05th, 2018 - 11:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Since the commodity boom helped several countries and the slowdown in China has affected several countries, I assume it wasn't all Lula's doing. It would have been nice if Lula had tried to do some reforms, but he had the same hostile, money grabbing Congress as Temer does now (and they were so hostile to Dilma, they threw her out). Most of the analyses of the BF that I have seen have been favourable, but we'll have to wait to see the long term effects of Temer's reform of the labour laws.

    Yeah, I'm sure SP takes a lot less benefits per person. With most of the industry it's much much richer than the NE, almost like a different country, right?

    And, I can understand why people in Brazil object to paying tax. At least here we can see what it is spent on and everyone gets to benefit from the services. The rich still use all kinds of accounting gimmicks, though. The government should start paying accountants to find and close the loopholes, instead of letting them work for the rich people taking advantage of them.

    Jul 06th, 2018 - 09:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @JB:

    REF: “the future of Brazil could be in the hands of the most ignorant, those that contribute nothing”:

    I wish that we ARE right. BUT:
    https://www.oantagonista.com/brasil/urgente-deputados-vao-rodrigo-maia-pedir-anulacao-requerimento-da-cpi-da-lava-jato/

    Jul 07th, 2018 - 05:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    “...but he had the same hostile, money grabbing Congress as Temer does now ...”

    Not really, nor exactly the same....his popularity made it convenient to 'appear' to be on his side....and when they 'rebelled', he resorted to 'buying' Congress....not just by favouring them with funds to use (and steal) in their political strongholds, but by outright bribing, in the form of monthly pay-outs.... thus the “mensalão”....
    Had he any real intention of carrying out his promises, he could have easily, but he prioritized his popularity, at the expense of the people....the unions (obviously) and specific groups of public servants would certainly protest if he'd gone ahead with the reforms - as they always do - but in the short term, the great majority of the people would realize it was for the better....but he was NOT the 'statesman' he believes himself to be.

    The BF concept is not unreasonable, and I don't think many people are opposed to it, only (opposed) to it's political manipulation.

    The Labour Reform made employee/employer relationship more flexible - including decade -old worker revindications, by getting rid of old, rigid rules that made attending them, impossible - since one of its backbones is negotiation, as versus 'imposition', it should also reduce number of work-related law-suits....but as you say, time will tell. On the other hand, it makes it easier to take on and less expensive to fire, which should theoretically help the creation of jobs.

    The NE and the SE are indeed like two different countries....different cultures, different behaviour, different approach to about everything...only thing in common is the language, and even that is not all that similar.

    The people who are in a position to benefit from the loopholes are exactly those that in one way or the other belong to groups wich have their lobbies active in Congress, so I don't think much will change in the short / medium term. It's like putting the fox in charge of the chicken run.

    Jul 07th, 2018 - 10:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I get the impression that to the extent they care about ideology, there are/were more members of Congress close to Temer (PMDB, PSDB, other centrist to centre-right parties) than close to Lula (PT, other centre-left and leftist parties). So it should be a bit easier for Temer to get them to agree, but on the other hand his unpopularity has the opposite effect; they must avoid appearing to be on his side. Perhaps this is why he seems to have given up on doing anything big with the election approaching, although he couldn't pass the pension reform anyway with the army still in Rio.

    I assume the mensalão ended after it came out in 2005? Because I can't see Congress agreeing to impeach Dilma unless Temer promised them at least as much in benefits as they were getting under her.

    Anyway, I guess we don't know how hard it would have been for Lula to pass reforms since he never tried. You're probably right that he was afraid of pissing off his base by reducing their benefits, and he wouldn't have agreed to weaken the unions anyway since they mostly support him.

    Do you find it hard to understand people from the NE then? Why is it so much poorer than the SE? It often seems that the hotter and more tropical a country, the less developed it is, and that's even true within countries. But I don't know why.

    “The people who are in a position to benefit from the loopholes are exactly those that in one way or the other belong to groups wich have their lobbies active in Congress, so I don't think much will change in the short / medium term.”

    Too true. It's a big problem for any country when parliament makes laws to benefit millionaires and multinationals instead of voters.

    Jul 08th, 2018 - 10:19 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @DT:

    REF: “It's a big problem for any country when parliament makes laws to benefit millionaires and multinationals instead of voters”:

    Voters basically being the “Connon Fodder”; they don't matter anyway in a Fake-Democracy. It's not a problem but an ideal solution to the power-hungry racketeers to keep the masses ignorant, poor & suffering; so that they have NO energy left to unite! NO energy left [axcept uniting during the matches and the carnivals].

    Conclusion: REF: “so I don't think much will change in the short/medium term”: Perhaps “Short, Medium AND Long-Term” and thinking of revolution? FORGET IT!
    REF:
    https://www.otempo.com.br/image/contentid/policy:1.1997276:1530910444/CHARGE%20O%20TEMPO.JPG?f=3x2&w=620&$p$f$w=ac4ac92

    Jul 08th, 2018 - 12:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Truly understanding ideology and its implications is not exactly the strong point of Brazilian politicians...and far less of the poor....they only react to miraculous promises because they are easy to dupe.....I'd say your summary of politicians being closer to the centre - than to the far left - even if not the result of a well-thought out mental process, or ideological conviction - is pretty accurate.

    The initial indications of the existence of a systematic corruption scheme in Lula's first term, came to light in the middle of 2005 after a PTB congressman, Roberto Jefferson gave an interview the political weekly “Veja”, denouncing corruption in the Federal Post office. People may have different incidents to which they attribute the actual beginning, but are all unanimous that the 'mensalão' was Lula's pet project. Took a couple of years before the STF starting to indict politicians, took 5 years more to end the trial, and the results, compared to the damage done, were negligible...Lula only saved his skin by making a deal with Temer's PMDB.
    I'd say that Dilma cooked her own goose....her mismanagement and incompetence, laced with suspicions of facilitating corruption right under her own nose, harmed further by her gross lack of speaking skills , were responsible for her impeachment... by definition, decisions made by Congress are political, but it only reached that point when they, and the people realized she was unfit to carry on.

    The reforms would have passed easily under Lula....although specific sectors were against them, the people were on Lula's side...he decided to please the unions and the majority of public servants, because that is where his initial support (and financial) came from. Congress, aware of the benefit of the reforms, at no political cost to themselves, would have gone along with it....his reluctance was clear as crystal.

    “hard to understand people from the NE then? Why is it so much poorer than the SE?” need more space...

    Jul 08th, 2018 - 08:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    Brazil Judge Gives Police One Hour to Release Lula:

    NOBODY BELIEVED IN WHAT I HAD PREDICTED
    https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Brazil-Judge-Gives-Police-One-Hour-to-Release-Lula-20180708-0008.html

    Jul 08th, 2018 - 09:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Politicians being near the centre is probably a result of their lack of ideological conviction. They just go with the flow and whatever they think will get them elected. It doesn't provide a great choice to voters though, a bunch of parties without clear differences, and politicians whose decisions are quite unpredictable.

    “I'd say that Dilma cooked her own goose...”

    I thought at the time and still think she was impeached mostly because they didn't like the way she was handling the recession. But her level of unpopularity among voters probably contributed to them feeling confident in moving against her. If they had tried the same trick on Lula they'd have to worry about angry voters chucking them out at the next election.

    And I dunno, I think the pension reform would have been a hard pill to swallow no matter who passed it. Since it involved raising the age of retirement, it would make pretty nearly everyone worse off. Maybe just cutting public sector pensions would be more doable, but AFAIK wouldn't have been enough.

    Jul 08th, 2018 - 09:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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