Forty-seven million Brazilians go o the polls on Wednesday (15 November) to elect a new 420-seat cabinet of Deputies and one third of the 66-sea federal senate.
Forty-seven million Brazilians go o the polls on Wednesday (15 November) to elect a new 420-seat cabinet of Deputies and one third of the 66-sea federal senate. Only the two legal parties, the pro-government National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA) and the opposition Brazilian democratic Movement (MDB) are contesting the elections. Newspaper polls predict a narrow victory for the ARENA party, which supports the right-wing military government. As election day approaches, both parties are campaigning vigorously in Rio de Janeiro state.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday (9 November) supporters of the MDB gathered in Nova Iguacu, thirty-five kilometres (20 miles) from Rio de Janeiro. Senhor Nelson Carneiro, was a senior candidate a the rally.
Roberto Saturnine Braga also addressed the meeting. Both he and senhor carneiro are hoping to be re-elected for a further four-year term. Senhor carneiro is a senior but still very active member of the current parliament He was an ardent supporter of the divorce law, passed in Catholic Brazil earlier this year.
The meeting was also addressed by senhor wellington Moreira Franco, Mayor of Niteroi, which faces Rio de Janeiro from the other side of the Guanabara Bay. The MDB wants immediate restoration of democratic institutions in Brazil, an end to arbitrary government powers and amnesty for political prisoners and exiles At the last elections in 1974 the MDB gained 160 seats. Changes in the electoral system since then have reduced the number of seats to be contested in areas where MDB support is strongest.
The last large rally of the government ARENA party took place in Duque de Caxias in Rio de Janeiro state on Saturday (11 November). Chief speaker was President-elect, General Joao Baptista Figueiredo, who will take office next March. ARENA supports the gradual liberalisation policies advocated by General Figueiredo. The latest opinion poll puts ARENA just ahead of MDB, but even if the opposition wins a majority in the chamber of Deputies, ARENA's domination of the Federal Senate would still restrict the MDB's power. Opposition leaders hopes a good showing in the elections will force the government to speed up implementation of its reform programme.