Brazil is holding a presidential election this Sunday.
The Miami Herald has this headline,
Brazil heads into white-knuckle presidential race — Bolivia, Uruguay follow
It’s an active political season in South America. As Brazil and Uruguay head into tight presidential races, Bolivian President Evo Morales is poised to clench a third term.
For the moment, all eyes are on Brazil, which is in a technical recession and expected to grow by less than 1 percent this year. That means the election will largely turn on voters’ perceptions of who can best lift the world’s eighth-largest economy out of the doldrums.
In 2010, the year Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla and hand-picked choice of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was elected, the economy grew 7.5 percent. It slowed to 2.7 percent the following year as the shocks of the global financial crisis took their toll.
But as other Latin American economies improved, Rousseff, stubbornly sticking to centralized economic policy, hasn’t been able to rekindle growth.
That’s true, but, perhaps more importantly, Dilma has a huge, well established and funded, political machine. Hence, I was not surprised by this other headline,
Brazil Leader Regains Edge in Election Polls
Two new electoral polls shows Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff widening her lead over her main challenger in a likely second-round runoff, surveys that disappointed many investors who hope for the incumbent’s ouster.
After a fast rise, Ms. Silva appears to be fading as she heads into this Sunday’s first round of voting. She surged in the polls after announcing that she would run for president in the place of running mate Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash Aug. 13. Voters fed up with politics as usual flocked to her in the early going. So did investors and businessmen who liked her market-friendly mix of ideas for getting tough on inflation and reducing state interference in the economy.
But a barrage of television attack ads by Ms. Rousseff has taken a toll on Ms. Silva, who so far has been unwilling and unable to respond in kind. Under Brazil’s unique election laws, Ms. Silva has only a fraction of the TV time allotted to Ms. Rousseff and third-place candidate Aécio Neves in the initial round of voting. Ms. Silva has also refused to go negative in her own campaign ads, despite encouragement from supporters to fight back.
Questions about her toughness persisted after she cried in front of a reporter following an interview. And her campaign has appeared disorganized and unprepared at times, lacking the depth and experience of Ms. Rousseff’s team.
I fully expect Dilma to win.
White knuckle? Not so much.