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As 6 Million Brazilians Fall Into Poverty Since 2014, Economy Likely to Define 2018 Election

09/18/2017 - 11h28

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FERNANDO CANZIAN
SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE NORTHEAST

Campaigning for the 2018 elections in Brazil well begin, despite the abrupt deterioration of several key social indicators and the fact that nearly six million people have fallen into poverty in the aftermath of the economic recession which began in 2014.

However, economic recovery - which is currently underway and will become even more pronounced next year - may benefit traditional political parties, such as the PMDB and PSDB, parties with more regional clout, ad time on TV and public funding for campaigns.

Economic recovery is slower in Brazil's Northeast, a region that was crucial in consolidating the Workers' Party's last four electoral victories. It is also the region where former president Lula da Silva set out on a twenty-day campaign trail and insisted on the progress his government made.

Even so, pundits believe that the region tends to favor the governing party as opposed to Lula's policies or the Workers' Party as a whole.

Pundits believe that economic recovery in the northeast (which is finally beginning to take off), on top of the financial spending that congressmen in the governing coalition will be able to implement, as well as an almost-certain 2018 Bolsa Família (poverty relief programme) adjustment, can all help boost the campaigns of those who compose the administration of president Michel Temer (PMDB), while weakening the campaigns of outsiders, such as far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro (currently a member of the PSC party).

Folha accompanied Lula's campaign trail through the Northeast between late August and early September, visiting several districts that were severely impacted by the recession.

The former president is still very popular among those in the region. In his speeches, he tried to associate the current crisis with the "coup-mongering government of Michel Temer", downplaying the mistakes made by the administration of his successor, Dilma Rousseff (PT).

The drastic consequences that poor people have been experiencing as a result of the economic recession that unraveled during the Rousseff administration had not been experienced since 1989.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Bruno Santos/ Folhapress
Former president Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters in Ouricuri, Pernambuco
Former president Lula da Silva is greeted by supporters in Ouricuri, Pernambuco

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