Brazil's voters went to the polls yesterday (Sunday, 6 January) to decide whether the country is to have a strong president...
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Background: Brazil's voters went to the polls yesterday (Sunday, 6 January) to decide whether the country is to have a strong president...or a parliamentary form of government, with chief executive holding limited powers.
There is no final count in the plebiscite yet. But, unofficially, poll samples indicate that the Brazilians favored restoring strong powers to President Joao Goulart.
The spirited campaign ended Friday night. And it was a night marked by music, torch-light parades, and dancing in the street.
But, despite the gaiety, the political stakes are high. The plebiscite will determine whether left-leaning Goulart will have a firm hand on the helm of the government.
Here is what led up to the plebiscite:
In August, 1961 Janio Quadros surprised the nation by stepping down from office. The then vice-president, Goulart, sought to assume the presidency, but he faced strong opposition, and Brazil was on the brink of a civil war. The solution was a temporary parliamentary system with limited powers for Goulart as pareident, with a plebiscite later to permanently settle the issue over a strong president.