The results are in and, in Brazil’s closest presidential election ever, the incumbent Dilma Rousseff (Worker’s Party, 51.6% of the votes) retained her position as president of Latin America’s largest economy after beating out former Minas Gerais governor Aécio Neves (Brazilian Social Democracy Party, 48.4% of the votes).
In our last post on the issue, we had framed this battle as one between voters who prioritize economic reform, and thus would support Aécio, versus voters who prioritize social programs, thus supporting Dilma. This is precisely how the result played out. Dilma won most of the
more rural and dependent Northern states, particularly the Northeast, whereas Aécio won most of the southern, more developed states.
As predicted, financial markets did not receive the news well. The country’s currency, the Real, has considerably weakened since the news, down to $2.53 at the time of this post, a new nine and a half year low. The country’s stock exchange, the Bovespa, is also facing a steep selloff.
Yet, there is a strong sentiment among Brazilians that while conceding the battle to the status quo, the fight for change in Brazil is certainly not over. Social media channels have exploded with posts along the lines of “just wait till 2018 [the next Brazilian election]”, or “this was a great development for Brazil [referring to the close results]”. As such, some expect Dilma to adopt a more conciliatory role in some regards to protect her party’s position for the 2018 elections.