On October 2, Brazil’s 144 million eligible voters will be called to vote for mayors, deputy mayors, and councilmembers in the first national elections since Former President Dilma Rousseff’s August impeachment. A total of 475,363 candidates—roughly one candidate for every 422 Brazilians—from more than 35 political parties are running for 5,568 mayor seats and 57,949 spots for city council, all to four-year terms.
The elections will be a test of Brazil’s new political landscape as Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT) strategizes over how to recover from Rousseff’s removal and the ongoing corruption investigation into her predecessor and party leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The PT is set to lose or have close races in many of the capitals it currently controls, including São Paulo.
In an effort to clamp down on corruption, Brazil’s Electoral Justice body has used the Clean Record Law to ban thousands of candidates across a variety of parties from running on charges of everything from acts of “impropriety” while in office to irregular party nomination procedures. Additional candidates were banned for their failure to present accounting records from past campaigns. Many of those dismissed, however, will still be able to run while they await appeals from the Supreme Electoral Court.
These municipal elections are also the first to take place since a ban on corporate donations to campaigns and a limit on the campaigning period went into effect. Last year, Congress lowered the campaign period from 90 to 45 days in order to reduce costs for candidates and political parties. The Supreme Court ruled on the corporate donation ban in September of 2015 in an attempt to curb corruption in light of the Petrobras scandal, though some argue the ruling inadvertently benefits candidates who already have access to large quantities of cash, like religious figures or those with ties to organized crime.
According to Brazilian polling company IBOPE, big cities are expected to see a rise in the number of blank or invalid votes, possibly by as much as 16 percent in Rio’s mayoral race. This is in part because candidates haven’t been forthcoming with platform proposals on top voter issues like corruption and the economy, generating further disenchantment among an electorate that is mandated to vote on Sunday.
As Election Day approaches, AS/COA Online takes a look at the facts and figures.