Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Elections in Brazil

On Sunday, October 1st 2006, there will be general elections in Brazil. Voters are called to vote for President of the Republic, Senators, Federal Deputies, Governor of State and State Deputies (elections for Mayor and City Councils happened in 2004, and will happen again in 2008).
In case none of the candidates of President or Governor receives the absolute majority of votes (half of total votes plus one), there will be a second round on October 15th.
The event will cause some changes very noticeable in the routine of Natal.

All Brazilian channels which broadcast open signals (i.e., which are not exclusive to cable TVs) are obliged to display political propaganda. This started around mid-August and will last until the Friday before the elections; if there is a need for a second round, so there will be a second round of propaganda. Candidates will appear at prime time, from 1 pm to 1:45 pm and from 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm.
The total time will be shared among all candidates, in proportion to the representativity of their parties. Candidates do not pay for the television time (TVs can deduct the costs from their income taxes). This is intended to be a means to give equal chances to all candidates.
It is common talk in Natal and Brazil to downplay this political propaganda (much because it appears at all channels, and postpones the display of the "novelas" - soapboxes -, most important program of Brazilian families). However, it is an excellent chance to get to know the people who will command the State and the country.

Besides using the TV presence, candidates try to employ other means to gain visibility.
Candidates seem to have reasons to believe that the following actions improve their chances of being elected: distributing small folders with photos to drivers stopped in traffic lights; paying people to hold banners with photos along busy streets; promoting "carreatas" (convoys of cars) which drive along the main streets, slowing transit down; hiring sound cars with loudy speakers to shout their names around.

All these actions seem to somehow disturb people. None of these acts try to widespread the ideas or principles of candidates.

However, candidates seem to believe (and they probably have reasons to do it) that they increase their chances of being elected by acting so.

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