Brazil: Political Scandals Involving Presidential Election Cause Rift in Governing Coalition

NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, April 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Brazil: Political Scandals Involving Presidential Election Cause Rift in Governing Coalition


By Matthew Flynn

[The author writes for Business News Americas from Sao Paulo.]

The sudden rise in the polls of Roseana Sarney, Partido da Frente Liberal (PFL) pre-candidate for this year's presidential elections, was only matched by her dramatic fall. Federal Police raided a business owned by her and her husband and found US$570,000 in cash that could not be easily explained. Afterward, Roseana, who recently left her post as governor of Maranhao to run in the election, fell from being in a technical tie with poll leader Inacio Lula da Silva, pre- candidate of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), to seven percentage points behind Lula.

Asserting that she was set up, Roseana threatened to withdraw her name from the presidential race unless the PFL broke its alliance with the government, headed by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso from the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileiro (PSDB). Roseana and her supporters claim that the police investigation was an operation directed by former health minister Jose Serra, the PSDB's presidential pre-candidate, who has been trailing in the polls.

PFL leaders downplayed the impact of the governing alliance's breakup. "We are not declaring war against the government, just showing our independence," said party president Jorge Bornhausen.

But with PFL ministers and political appointees leaving their posts, legislative activity has ground to a halt. Also, with the breakup of the elite coalition that has governed Brazil during Cardoso's two terms in office, more political infighting could follow.

Roseana's father, former president Sen. Jose Sarney, was the most vehement. "Fernando Henrique destroyed my daughter," he said. "Now I am going to destroy him."

Given recent developments, Brazil's presidential election is bound to be marked by accusations and character assassination, while parties attempt to construct new alliances.

A recent ruling by the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE) on how these alliances can be made is also having an impact. The February ruling said that political parties that make alliances at the national level must also have alliances of the same nature at the state and municipal levels. The ruling disrupted months of careful alliance building.

A month later the court added to the ruling, saying that if a party does not have a presidential candidate, it is free to make alliances at the local levels as it desires.

The ruling benefits or punishes parties depending on the composition of their local and national coalitions. Political commentators say the big winners are the PSDB and PT since they are the largest parties with strong presidential candidates and consequently can exchange support either formally or informally with other parties.

"They dragged my name through the mud," said Roseana

Having lost her former political appeal, Roseana Sarney is in the most difficult situation. "Roseana stopped being a new and different alternative, now she's a politician like any other," admitted one of her campaign strategists.

The charismatic governor's response to the scandal also left much to be desired. When national news showed more than a million reales (the local currency) at the Linus company, owned by her and her husband, Roseana hid from the media.

Explanations by company personnel did little to clear any doubt of wrongdoing before Roseana's husband, Jorge Murad, said the money collected was for the governor's presidential bid. Murad, who was responsible for administrating the public money for the governor, was forced to resign.

The damage was already done. Besides irregularities in raising campaign funds, federal prosecutors are investigating links that Roseana and her husband might have with corruption scandals that have surrounded the defunct Superintendencia da Amazonia (Sudam). Cases of fraud at the regional development agency have brought down other politicians [see Notisur, 2001- 05-11, 2001-09-28]

Even though Roseana's drop in the polls appears to have bottomed out and she still retains the support of her party, PFL leaders are contemplating bringing in a new candidate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Brazil: Political Scandals Involving Presidential Election Cause Rift in Governing Coalition
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.