“You have created a monster and it'll destroy you” Waldman tried in vain to warn Dr. Henry Frankenstein about the potential hazard of his creation in the classic movie filmed in 1931. That is probably what Dilma Rousseff's political advisers have been saying during the last couple of weeks.
The most turbulent and controversial Brazilian presidential election is finally over with Rousseff re-elected by only three percent difference from the opposition candidate Aecio Neves. With that, Rousseff added four years mandate to Workers Party's already twelve years in power. Little change in the economic, social and political policies is expected.
The Brazilian elections had almost of everything, starting with one of the candidates, Geraldo Campos, dying in a mysterious airplane crash during the first term, a tragedy that touched the general public and was intensely exploited by the television channels. Followed by the wave of popular commotion,
The second term was marked by scandals of corruption raised by the opposition regarding the state owned oil company Petrobras , strong campaign against Rousseff by the media and a climate of battle in the streets among parties’ supporters, which basically represented a battle of classes: poor (Government) vs rich (opposition).
One day before the second term election, the largest Brazilian magazine brought on its cover a heavy accusation against Rousseff. The report said that Rousseff knew exactly what happened at Petrobras during the period of claimed corruption. This was followed by protests against her in the streets of
Despite the popular revolt, Rousseff won the elections. The results basically divide the country geographically, with North and Northeast, the poorest regions, voting for Roussef, and South and Southeast, the richest region, voting for Neves.
Roussef was accused to win the elections because of its social programs, like Bolsa Familia, a social grant to poor families, most of them living in the North and Northeast of Brazil, place where Rousseff won most of its votes. Neves also accused Rousseff of using the public institutions in its campaign, such as the state owned telegraph company Correios which Neves claimed that they refused to deliver his campaign material.
I wrote in my article The Brazilian Diplomatic Fiasco (here) the reasons why the Brazilian Government will keep leading South America in the harsh critics against
Rousseff will face a very difficult mandate. Her party has been losing credibility due to corruption scandals raised by the opposition in the recent years and protests against them in the most populated states. Straight after Rousseff was elected, a large portion of the population with the media’s support went out the streets calling for impeachment.
Thanks to Lula’s social policies, millions moved from low to middle class. That move continued in Rousseff's mandate although slower. However, both presidents forgot to govern for these new middle class not attending their new expectations. Moreover, these fresh layers of the Brazilian society demanded more from the Government than investments only on social projects, like better education, public transportation and health systems.
First symptom that this new middle class was unhappy with Rousseff's government was during the world cup. Any time Rousseff appeared in a football match, the crowd cursed her. Besides, a couple of thousands protesters went out the streets protesting against the high costs of the event while education, transportation and health systems lacked improvements. Thus, the climate of battle during the elections could be predicted.
The people's message was given, either Rousseff new mandate focus on investing in education, giving incentives to entrepreneurs, attracting foreign investors and keeping on track Lula’s long term economic, social and development programs adapted to new demands, or she and her party will end up killed by their own creation: the new middle class.
Frankenstein has never been so alive like it is right now in the Brazilian politics and the consequences of its existence are yet to be seen.