José Serra (PSDB – Party of Social Democracy of Brazil, center-to-right wing) is the only man out of the three main candidates to president. Born in the town of São Paulo, he comes from a lower middle class family, son of italian immigrants. Just like rival Dilma Rousseff (PT), Serra was an active leftist militant against Brazil’s 1964′s military coup. Unlike Dilma Rousseff, he didn’t stand for an armed action. But to the then military commanders-in-chief the only good opposition was no opposition. José Serra was captured and oustered by them, interrupting his study of civil engineering and later graduating as an economist. Unlike Dilma Rousseff, José Serra accumulates a vast roll of political posts, from mayor of São Paulo to senator of the Republic. He was also Minister of Health during the mandate of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Last year – before President Lula came out to publicly endorse the candidacy of Dilma Rousseff – Serra started out well ahead in the polls. That has changed drastically and the latest polls have shown a continuous downfall, being that now Serra has only 25-27% of vote intentions, against 52% of Dilma Rousseff.
In the Brazilian electoral process it’s normal to have one candidate using denounces of corruption as a petard against the opposition candidate. First we had Dilma Rousseff’s allies digging deep into José Serra’s daughter life to try to find anything that could be thrown against the fan. Then in the past two weeks an avalanche of denounces of corruption coming from Serra’s allies brought down Lula’s current chief of staff, Erenice Guerra. She has a direct relationship with Dilma Rousseff, since Dilma was the previous chief of staff. Yet, nothing seems to tarnish Dilma Roussef’s candidacy, she will remain untouched as long as she’s armored with Lula’s unbreakable shield of popularity.
Election happens in October 3rd, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., -3 GMT.
Brazilians vote via computers developped exclusively for this purpose, called “e-ballots”. In 2010 Brazil will start implementing, in test mode, vote by biometric scan and the printing of a receipt with the name of the voted candidate. Those are measures to increase safety and avoid electoral fraud.