Highlights – XXII

Image: Cyrus Saurius


Comments on recent events

The municipal elections are closed. Firstly, an assertive judgment on the results is required. Neither the PT, led by Lula and Fernando Haddad, nor the Bolsonarist forces obtained significant victories in this election. This does not mean, however, that these forces are permeated by negative results. On the contrary, due to the repositioning of the leaders' positions, they should be firm and strong for the next clashes. 2022 is approaching.

The MDB, the DEM, the PSDB resurfaced, after being contested in 2018, once again assuming key roles. The MDB maintained the highest number of city halls. The DEM has expanded its domains. The PSDB, which in a way recovered due to the election in the city of São Paulo, is the party that governs the largest portion of the Brazilian electorate, around 23%.

It is important to note that some campaigns excelled for unbelievable downloads. Porto Alegre and Recife are examples of this. In both cities, the candidates who lost the elections were the target of accusations in fake news fired en masse, provoking the destabilization of their electorates. This malaise between forces that, apparently, could be associated should be reflected in the next events, in the composition of local governments, in the orientations of the benches in the city councils and also in the assembly of the anti-Bolsonarist front eventually present in 2022. Porto Alegre and Recife are not good signs to follow in terms of political civility.

The PSDB became victorious in São Paulo, a fact that tends to boost João Dória's candidacy to succeed Jair Bolsonaro, despite the fact that the rejection of the governor in the city is greater than 60%.

The most important protagonist of these elections was abstention. It has been growing since the year 2000, reaching an average of 29 to 30%. When added to the null and blank votes, we reach the incredible mark of 35% in the second round elections. What is the meaning of this? Is it a refusal of compulsory voting? A rejection of politics? Or was it simply the fear of the coronavirus? The fact is that, since 2000, absenteeism has been increasing, which indicates that the pandemic was not the main factor. Some specialists try to explain the phenomenon by the weakening of the importance of the municipalities, a factor that would lead voters to participate more assiduously in the majority elections for the states and for the Union.

The municipal public administration, especially in the big cities, despite all the scourges it will have to face, has a bonus of around 24 billion reais made available to municipalities by the emergency policy, through the decree of the state of public calamity. It is necessary to monitor how municipalities will use these extraordinary resources.

In this sense, it should be noted that, in recent days, there has been a frontal attack on FUNDEB resources by members of the federal government. The 5,9% wage floor increase expected to take effect in 2021 was cancelled. There is great resistance to this measure by Congress. The leaders of the cancellation are President Jair Bolsonaro and the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite. On the other hand, a united front of basic education teachers emerges against this measure, which significantly harms them.

Deforestation in the Amazon accumulates records under records ending at the end of November at a rate of 9,5% higher than last year's full rate. Prevention and surveillance activities, support for bodies and agents in charge of imposing fines have been neglected by the federal government. The tragedy of the environment continues, therefore.

Finally, it is notable to verify almost in a gossip, in a political alarm, the trajectory of former Minister Sérgio Moro. The former Minister of Justice, creator and leader of the car wash, directly responsible for the destruction of companies and careers, became a partner and owner of a company that legally administers Odebrecht.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).


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