Getting Ready for the Runoff, in Sí£o Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo’s mayor Marta Suplicy (PT) took to the TV on Tuesday to try and dictate the agenda. Having been knocked over the last couple of weeks for her lack of health policy, she used her ads to explain the single ticket for public transport””the one project which none of her rivals can challenge. 

by Guy Burton

Both José Serra (PSDB) and Paulo Maluf (PP) have said
they would keep it in place if they were elected.

As for the campaign
as a whole
, Marta’s TV spots are making greater use of her being seen next
to the President and members of Congress””emphasising the nature of this election
as a referendum on Lula’s first two years in office.

However, the
campaign team already is looking beyond the first round to the second round
run-off with Serra. In the contest with him they are aware that they are
drifting, with a higher rejection level than the former Health
Minister.

One of the ways they hope to challenge Serra is to highlight
the difference between him and his party colleagues in City Hall. Serra has said
he will keep Marta’s single ticket for public transport in place if he wins the
election.

But the PT plans to highlight the fact that the
tucano bloc in City Hall voted against the idea when it was first
presented. The other plan is to take Marta out onto the streets, starting on
Wednesday. She will spend time engaging with the public and holding public
events to encourage involvement.

As if to reinforce the nature of this
referendum, Marta went back into tucanos want to steal your babies mode
again. She claimed her rivals wanted to use São
Paulo as a means of opposition against the federal government
.

There
then followed a eulogy of all the things Lula and her colleagues in Brasilia
have done over the last two years.

Oops!

Someone
must have failed to warn the Serra campaign ahead of his visit to a
crèche
for low-income families in the north of the city. Although it was
established by the state government and has places for 1,000 children, a request
by its management to increase the numbers by 20 were rejected by the same
administration; all rather embarrassing given that the state government is run
by the same party as Serra’s.

Just as the Estadao gears itself
up to interview the
mayoral candidates
, so is the Folha now doing the same. In fact
they’ve stolen a march on the other São Paulo newspaper, by starting their
interviews this Friday, with Erundina (PSB).

On Monday it will be
Maluf’s turn, followed by Serra the day after and Marta on Wednesday. Members of
the public can also attend and ask questions as well. Anyone planning a short
trip to São Paulo who fancies themselves with the language can email the
Folha at candidatosnafolha@folha.com.br
if they are really interested.

You’ve got some change? Here let
me spend it for you…


During his term of office as mayor
between 1993 and 1996, Maluf produced his own health plan for the city, the PAS.
It was scrapped by his successor and protégé, Celso Pitta, when it became too
costly to maintain.

Now that he’s said his piece on road improvements (I
hope), Maluf has
turned his attention to health
and used the Wednesday TV ad space to talk
about a ‘new PAS’ which he would introduce if elected.


According to him it would operate with a card that the user would be
able to use at any hospital he or she chose. The card would also entitle the
user to free medicines.

“This will be a real revolution in health,” he
claims, without saying how it will be paid for.

He’s also looking at a new
version of his Singapore Plan
, which would improve the city’s favelas,
including the construction of 40,000 new homes, new crèches, schools and leisure
areas.

I’m starting to feel like shouting out the catchphrase of Cuba
Gooding Jr’s character in Jerry Maguire (which I incidentally saw this
week): “Show me the money!”



For much more about the coming São Paulo election visit
Guy Burton and Andrew Steven’s blog at http://www.saopaulo2004.blogspot.com

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