Brazil: What are the economic proposals of the presidential candidates?

5 candidates propose different approaches to privatization, corruption, pension reform, and the size of the state, key issues that concern a stagnating economy

Brazil: What are the economic proposals of the presidential candidates?

The next presidential elections will be held in Brazil on October 7 in the middle of the controversy over the judicial status of ex-candidate and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Here, we present some of the candidates and their economic proposals.

Leer en español: Brasil: ¿Cuáles son las propuestas económicas de los candidatos a la presidencia?

Jair Bolsonaro, member of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), ex-captain of the army and deputy, is first in the popularity polls. Bolsonaro is followed by Fernando Haddad, representing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (president between 2003 and 2010), who is currently paying 12 years in prison for corruption and money laundering. Haddad, like Lula da Silva, belongs to the Workers' Party (PT) and served as minister of education between 2005 and 2012.

As third in the popularity polls, Ciro Gomes of the Partido Democrático Trabalhista (PDT) party, who in 1994 was minister of finance and from 2003 to 2006 was national integration minister. Gomes is followed by Geraldo Alckmin, former governor of Sao Paulo and candidate representative of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).

Finally, as the only woman in the contest, we find Marina Silva, who belongs to the Rede Sustentabilidade (REDE) party and served as minister of the environment between 2003 and 2008.

1. Privatization

Haddad: proposes to revoke the freeze on public spending approved by the government of Temer. It also proposes to make labor legislation more flexible. Also on his agenda is "interrupting privatizations" and promoting Petrobras' participation in deepwater oil projects.

Bolsonaro: claims "reducing the public debt by 20% through privatizations, concessions and the sale of Union properties." The newspaper El Mercurio states that the candidate will sell a third of the state companies, but affirms that "the strategic assets they must be 'preserved' and favor restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land and mineral deposits".

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Gomes: The candidate has stated that "in order to maintain control of our strategic natural resources, the Brazilian State will once again acquire all the oil blocks sold to foreigners by the Temer government, with due compensation." Although Gomes does not totally oppose privatization, he affirms that strategic companies such as Petrobras and Electrobras will not be privatized. Additionally, he has commented on the possibility of expropriating oil fields whose tenders were established during the Temer government.

Alckmin: In his plan to end the public deficit in a period of two years, Alckmin says that some state-owned companies will be privatized, but he is not clear which ones, because although the candidate has stated that he would not sell the state banks Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal has changed its position on different occasions with respect to the sale of companies such as Petrobras.

Silva: Promotes the state investment in infrastructure works and affirms that neither Petrobras, nor the Banco do Brasil, nor the Federal Economic Caixa will be privatized during her government.

2. Corruption

Haddad: He has affirmed the wish of Lula da Silva about the need for guarantees of "increasing transparency and the prevention of corruption." However, he also argues that one cannot criminalize politics in the name of the fight against corruption.

Bolsonaro: According to the informe21.com portal, the candidate states that "we propose a decent government, different from everything that plunged us into an ethical, moral and fiscal crisis".

Gomes: His only pronunciation in this regard has been to affirm the need to dismiss the ministers accused of corruption while they are being tried.

Alckmin: He is in favor of reducing public spending and at the same time "combating waste" by reducing the number of ministries.For this purpose, the candidate proposes to eliminate the division of public office between parties.

Silva: Proposes the criminalization of contributions to undeclared electoral campaigns. Likewise, she urges to end the special jurisdiction that exists to judge ministers.

3. Pension reform

Haddad: According to the informe21.com portal, the candidate seeks to achieve a balance in the accounts of the retirement system "from the return of employment".

Bolsonaro: Although he has openly criticized Temer's pension plan, he has not specified a proposal beyond a retirement system by capitalization that would work in parallel with the previous system.

Read also: Presidential Elections in Brazil: The environmental policy of the candidates

Gomes: Despite supporting the universal minimum pension, he does not make the pension reform a priority because he denies that there is a deficit in the system.

Alckmin: Supports Temer's proposal for a minimum age for retirement. Likewise, he recognizes the need for a reform that should be implemented not after the first semester of government. This reform, says the candidate, should focus on "creating a unique retirement system, equalizing rights and abolishing privileges."

Silva: Neither has she proposed a concrete proposal, but she has indicated the imminent need for a reform.

4. Equity and size of the State

Haddad: According to The Guardian, Haddad's plans often speak of increasing public spending and reducing austerity measures. For Haddad, it is key that the State can guarantee low-cost loans for the economy to recover.

Bolsonaro: According to El Mercurio, the candidate "defends a smaller state and limits the tax burden of Brazil. He opposes taxing profits and dividends".

Gomes: Proposes the modification of the tax burden by moving it. Thus, taxes on basic goods, medicine and electricity would decrease, while taxes on inheritance and wealth would increase.

Alckmin: Affirms the need to implement measures to boost competitiveness and attract investors to the country. He also proposes the replacement of five taxes for the only value-added tax (VAT).

Silva: Proposes a small state, but does not compromise her ability to provide basic services. Likewise, she is in favor of a decentralized system and, with respect to the issue of equity, proposes a cessation in the payment of taxes by the poorest citizens.

LatinAmerican Post | Sofía Carreño
Translated from "
¿Cuáles son las propuestas económicas de los candidatos a la presidencia de Brasil?"

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