In Brazil, General Joao Baptista Figueiredo was elected Head of State on Sunday (15 October), by an electoral college dominated by the pro-government National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA).
In Brazil, General Joao Baptista Figueiredo was elected Head of State on Sunday (15 October), by an electoral college dominated by the pro-government National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA). General Figueiredo was the chosen candidate of the outgoing President, General Ernesto Geisel, and will take office next March for a six-year term. Although his election was a formality, his candidature was opposed, and hundreds of students staged a noisy demonstration in the capital Brasilia, in protest against the electoral system.
SYNOPSIS: While the electoral college met inside the National Congress Hall, students gathered outside to await the result. the ARENA party controls 358 seats of the 589 in the electoral college, the remaining seats being held by the only legal opposition party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB). The college is formed by Federal Congressmen, Senators and representatives from Brazil's 22 state assemblies, and has sole responsibility for all government elections.
Senator Montoro of Sao Paulo, a member of the opposition party, is leading figure in the campaign for sweeping democratic reforms. As Senor Petronic Portella, the President of Congress, announced the result of the poll many opposition members voiced their disapproval. General Figueiredo was assured of victory since it is illegal for party members to vote in favour of another party's candidate.
The defeated MDB candidate, General Evler Bentes Monteiro, had called for an end to military rule and described election procedures as "institutionalised fraud". General Figueiredo has promised to implement the political reforms introduced by President Geisel, aimed at restoring full democracy.
These proposals have not satisfied the demands of opposition party supporters. During his election campaign, General Monteiro fiercely attacked the electoral system which he said, allowed a nation of 120 million people to be governed by a President chosen by only one Brazilian and supported by only a fe more. After the election, students continued to chant "We want the vote" outside the Congress Hall.