Significant defeats in Brazil for the PT, such as in the São Paulo and Porto Alegre municipal administrations, do not imply a direct defeat for President Lula’s Administration.
This observation was made by political scientist and professor at the University of Brasília (UnB), David Fleischer, who is not one of those in favor of the thesis that there was a “federalization” of the municipal elections, especially in São Paulo.
According to Fleischer, the PT candidate in Porto Alegre, Raul Pont, lost the election to José Fogaça not because of Lula’s Administration, but because of lack of support from the PT itself.
“I do not concur with Raul Pont in casting the blame on Lula’s Administration. If it were the federal government’s fault, the PT would have lost in many states, not just in Rio Grande do Sul,” Fleischer contended.
The political scientist attributes Marta Suplicy’s defeat in São Paulo “to the problems she arranged by herself” during the campaign.
“Although her administration received a reasonably high approval rating, Marta Suplicy, the person, was rejected,” he said.
By the same token, Fleischer does not believe that the PT’s victory in Fortaleza can be chalked up to the federal government’s support.
To the contrary, Luizianne Lins’s win was due to her own merits, the political scientist affirmed.
“It was Luizianne’s fierce battle, her obstinacy and insistence, that won the election,” he affirmed.
The professor pointed out, however, that the influence of the federal government was fundamental to the PT’s growth in small and medium-sized cities.
In Fleisher’s assessment, the transfer of federal funds to these cities always counts in favor of the party in power.
“When the federal government is controlled by Party X, this party controls the resources that go to medium and small-sized cities in the interior. Thus, it is to be expected that the party will use this mechanism to grow in the interior,” he argued.
In Fleischer’s view, the PT and the PSDB are the chief rival parties in the dispute “in the more organized [sectors of] Brazil.”
In this sense he considers that the PMDB and the PFL are secondary parties but with great force in the National Congress.
“The PMDB still has the largest number of senators, and the PFL has the second largest bloc. In the Chamber, the PMDB is the second largest bloc, right after the PT,” Fleischer points out.
Translator: David Silberstein