HUFFINGTON POST
10/28/2014 01:42 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2014

Brazil Just Re-Elected Dilma Rousseff. Here Are 11 Facts The World Needs To Know

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1) It is a divided country

Dilma Rousseff of Brazil's Workers' Party was re-elected with 54.5 million votes. However, 51 million Brazilians spurned the president in the election's second round, voting for Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party instead. Rousseff had significant votes in the northeast and northern regions, while Neves led in the southeast, southern and central western regions.

2) The majority is unsatisfied with the current government

The majority of valid votes went to Rousseff. However, aside from the 51 million people who voted for Neves, there were 7.1 million blank or null votes. These voters do not identify either with Rousseff nor Neves. Therefore, the majority of those who went to the voting booths, including protest voters, were unsatisfied with the current government.

Note: Abstentions totaled 30.1 million.

3) It was an aggressive campaign

Debating proposals took a backseat in the 2014 presidential campaign. Before the death of candidate Eduardo Campos in the first round, Rousseff had been the favorite. However, the meteoric rise of Marina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist Party in the wake of Campos' death disoriented Rousseff’s campaign.

The Workers' Party’s strategy was to pick apart Silva, spending half of its television campaign time attacking its opponent. The Workers' Party employed falsehoods to take Silva down, distorting her platform -- the independence of the Central Bank of Brazil -- and claiming it would lead to poverty and hunger in the nation.

Silva, who was tied with Rousseff in election polls at one point, saw her rejection rates increase exponentially. She ended up in third place in the first round.

4) Accusations hurled from both sides

In the second round, the Workers' Party campaign against Neves took off aggressively, trying to paint him as a misogynist and a “daddy’s boy” and linking him to Fernando Collor de Mello, the Brazilian ex-president impeached in 1991.

Because Silva did not reciprocate the attacks and was beaten in the first round, the Social Democratic Party fiercely reacted to the aggressions. Therefore, the three final weeks of the campaign were filled with accusations and personal attacks: Neves calling Rousseff “cavalier and dishonest,” Rousseff insinuating Neves drank, used drugs and beat women.

5) Zealotry is out of control

Both Social Democratic Party and Workers' Party zealots took tensions to the most irrational heights during the presidential run. Friendships were undone, relationships torn apart and Facebook friends blocked because of political differences. Social media during the campaign was characterized by voters’ inflexibility and intolerance to opinions other than their own.

6) Rousseff will have to govern all Brazilians

Now that things have cooled down, Rousseff needs to think about Brazil's divisions, partly because of her party’s claims that the Workers' Party governs for the poor while the Social Democratic Party governs for the rich. In her victory speech, Rousseff denied that the country was divided. Meanwhile Neves, in his concession speech, affirmed having highlighted to the re-elected president that “her major priority should be uniting Brazil.”

7) Brazil's economy is not doing well

Secondly, Rousseff must correct the path of the current political economy. Brazil's economy is not growing much -- this year, the projected growth of the GNP is 0.3 percent, inflation is rising and public accounts are unadjusted, which weakened the confidence of international investors. The country has much potential, but the president needs to clean up the mess she herself made by intervening excessively in the economy.

8) Corruption at Petrobras goes up to the president

Brazil’s largest state-owned enterprise, Petrobras, has been making headlines since early this year with reports of losses amounting to billions, super earnings and corruption accusations.

Before the campaign ended, Veja, Brazil’s largest magazine, reported that Rousseff and ex-President Lula da Silva were aware of the oil company’s embezzlement and its funneling of money into the coffers of certain allied parties, including the Workers' Party.

Rousseff will have to explain herself in the face of these accusations made by a money changer detained by federal police.

9) Political reform is essential

One theme touched on by all candidates was the need for political reform in the country. The way electoral campaigns in Brazil are run is not necessarily the most democratic. Associations are made among parties to guarantee more campaign ad airtime. In exchange for support, the federal government hands out jobs to the parties. The end of private financing, and of re-election as well, are on the docket for President Rousseff, who committed herself to political reform yesterday in her victory speech.

10) The Parliament may be Rousseff’s main adversary

Despite holding the majority in the National Congress, Rousseff will have to deal with the discontent of allies who were beaten in state elections. Some strong names from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party who hold majorities in the House and the Senate complain that the Workers' Party did not put enough effort into state campaigns.

The Social Democratic Party comes out on top of the presidential election and should constitute an even stronger opposition to the government, particularly Aécio Neves, who remains senator and should run with the party in 2018.

11) Lula will be back in 2018

The Workers' Party will have been in power for 16 years when Dilma Rousseff completes her second term in 2018. But the expectation is that the party’s biggest star, ex-president Lula da Silva, will run again in four years. Considering his popularity, it’s not unrealistic to imagine the upcoming decade under the omnipresent power of the Workers' Party.

This article was translated from Portuguese and was written by the staff of Brasil Post.

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