Raymond's Feed
Aug 6, 2010

Brazil’s Rousseff widens lead, survives debate

BRASILIA, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff looked set to pull away in Brazil’s presidential race on Thursday as she opened up her biggest lead yet in polls and emerged largely unscathed from the first nationally televised debate.

Rousseff was hesitant at times but displayed a clear command of statistics and policy in a polite and mostly uneventful debate with three other candidates including her main challenger, former Sao Paulo state governor Jose Serra.

A new poll out Thursday showed Rousseff with a 10 point advantage over Serra. Rousseff has benefited in recent weeks from Brazil’s robust economy and the popularity of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has campaigned actively on her behalf.

Just over six months ago, Serra had a 20 percentage-point advantage in polls. But in the TV Bandeirantes debate, Serra passed up several opportunities to hit Rousseff hard, preferring instead to make general criticisms of Brazil’s poor infrastructure and health system.

"Traveling on federal highways in Brazil today is a public danger," Serra said.

Serra faces the difficult task of needing to remain the critical opposition candidate while not alienating the vast majority of Brazil’s electorate who are satisfied with the economy and Lula’s government.

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For a factbox on Brazil political risk [ID:nRISKBR]

For the candidates’ proposals [ID:nN04266067]

For a factbox on recent opinion polls [ID:nN04275215]

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"(Serra) successfully targeted some of the government’s weak spots but didn’t score major points," said Rafael Cortez, political analyst with Tendencias consultancy in Sao Paulo.

One of the debate’s key moments came early, when Serra was given the opportunity to ask Rousseff a question directly. Yet instead of asking about corruption scandals that forced several of Lula’s top advisers to resign, for example, he asked Rousseff for her views on health, education and crime.

"Brazil has advanced step by step," Rousseff replied.

NO "CLEAR WINNER"

Even if Serra had scored major points, the debate’s importance was arguable. It began at 10 p.m. and faced competition for viewers from a crucial soccer match. Fireworks could be heard in Sao Paulo with each goal.

Rousseff, a technocrat who has never stood for public office, faced the challenge of emerging from Lula’s shadow and displaying a sometimes absent common touch.

She occasionally stumbled in her response but gave an overall solid defense of her track record in the government, citing job growth, economic stability, and poverty reduction.

"She may not be an excellent speaker but she didn’t make any major mistakes. I didn’t see a clear winner, an event that would change the course of the election," Cortez said. (Editing by Jackie Frank)




Aug 5, 2010

Brazil’s Serra, falling in polls, needs TV boost

BRASILIA, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Brazil’s ruling party
presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff surged into her biggest
poll lead on Thursday, piling pressure on her rival Jose Serra
for a sterling performance in the first nationally televised
debate.

Former Sao Paulo state Governor Serra, 68, who has debated
in public since he was a student leader nearly 50 years ago,
fell 10 points behind in the new poll as Rousseff gained from
Brazil’s robust economy and growing name recognition.

Aug 5, 2010

Brazil’s Serra eyes TV to claw back poll losses

BRASILIA, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Brazil’s opposition candidate
Jose Serra has debated in public since he was a student leader
nearly half a century ago, but in the first TV debate in
October’s presidential race it will be difficult for him to
recover support lost in recent months.

Former Sao Paulo state Governor Serra, 68, has run for
public office seven times, boasts an Ivy League education and
extensive managerial experience.

Aug 2, 2010

Key political risks to watch in Brazil

BRASILIA, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Brazil’s presidential election
in October looks less risky to investors than any other in the
last 25 years in the South American powerhouse as its economy
bounces back from a brief recession, but there are still
investment risks to watch this year.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s former chief of
staff, Dilma Rousseff, is the ruling Workers’ Party candidate
to succeed him. She is tied in some polls, and in others is
ahead of her main rival, Jose Serra, the former Sao Paulo state
governor running for the centrist opposition PSDB party.

Jul 23, 2010

Brazil’s Rousseff pulls ahead in election

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff has widened her lead in October’s presidential race over opposition candidate Jose Serra, a poll showed on Friday.

It is the biggest advantage any poll has so far given Rousseff, who in December trailed former Sao Paulo state governor Jose Serra by as much as 20 percentage points.

Jul 22, 2010

Brazil candidate Rousseff opposes taxing fortunes

BRASILIA, July 21 (Reuters) – Brazil’s ruling party
candidate in October’s presidential election, Dilma Rousseff,
said on Wednesday she saw no benefit in taxing big fortunes as
some of her coalition allies have proposed.

Since the beginning of the race in April, Rousseff has been
trying to shed her hard-left image and court investors. She has
pledged continuity of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s
mostly market-friendly policies, which have helped accelerate
Brazil’s economy to growth of around 7 percent this year.

Jul 14, 2010

EU, Brazil leaders urged to push trade talks

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian and European business leaders urged their governments on Wednesday to accelerate talks on an ambitious trade accord, despite the euro-zone crisis and opposition from European farmers.

The European Union and South American trade block Mercosur in May relaunched talks that had been on hold for six years with the aim of creating the world’s largest free-trade zone, encompassing 750 million people and goods valued at 65 billion euros ($82 billion) a year.

Jul 1, 2010

Key political risks to watch in Brazil

BRASILIA, July 1 (Reuters) – Brazil’s presidential election
in October looks less risky to investors than any other in the
last 25 years in the South American powerhouse as its economy
bounces back from a brief recession, but there are still
investment risks to watch this year.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s former chief of
staff, Dilma Rousseff, is the ruling Workers’ Party candidate
to succeed him. Polls show she has now overtaken her main
rival, Jose Serra, the former Sao Paulo state governor running
for the centrist opposition PSDB party. [ID:nN29178728]

Jun 1, 2010

Key political risks to watch in Brazil

BRASILIA, May 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s presidential election
in October looks less risky to investors than any other in the
last quarter of a century and the economy has bounced back
after a brief recession, but there are still investment risks
to watch in Brazil this year.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, Dilma
Rousseff, is the ruling Workers’ Party candidate to succeed
him. She has closed the gap on her main rival, Jose Serra, a
former Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra from the centrist
opposition PSDB party. [ID:nN17263531]

May 27, 2010

Brazil, Turkey press their Iran nuclear deal

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil and Turkey on Thursday called on world powers to accept their deal with Iran meant to rein in its nuclear program, but the United States dismissed their initiative as “dangerous”.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, joined by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, charged that Western powers were aggravating the conflict with Iran and had failed to negotiate in good faith.