Source: Correio Braziliense/Portal ClippingMP.
For the first time in many years, Brazil’s Federal District — the famous jet airliner-shaped planned metropolis of Brasília — is not governed by one of two political factions which, although nominally aligned with opposite ends of the political spectrum, have basically just handed the keys to the self-same Cadillac of corruption back and forth during regime changes over the years.
The previous governor of the federal district, José Roberto Arruda of the DEM, had been touted as having the right stuff for the opposition vice-presidential slot.
National news magazines glorified Arruda as a world-class practicioner of the New Public Management.
Nationally televised video — above — of the man and his cronies running old school New Jersey-style garbage-collection kickback schemes put a humiliating end to both the man and the media myth.
Arruda’s political nemesis, Joaquim Roriz — an old-school PMDB machine politician forced by endemic corruption charges to join the Christian Socialists — then ran afoul of recently passed “clean slate” legislation, barring the candidacy of public officials with criminal convictions that have been upheld on appeal.
Roriz dropped out to avoid losing his political rights, nominating his wife to run in his stead. Her portrait never even replaced the ex-govenor’s on the ballot. She was resoundingly creamed by the Workers Party — PT — candidate, Agnelo Queiroz.
And so — in addition to historically charged victories in Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul, a solid block of shared power with the Socialists in the Northeast, and a staunch ally in the City and State of Rio de Janeiro — the party of the federal situation gets its first chance to run a major model city since Marta Suplicy was mayor of São Paulo.
The PT grew up politically on ambitious projects for model cities, such as the famous participatory budget process installed in Porto Alegre — now back in the hands of the semi-allied PDT, a producer of some fine public humans, such as Senator Cristovam Buarque.
The opposition now governs 10 of 27 Brazilian states, although these comprise 52% of the population, largely due to the influence of the populous São Paulo and Santa Catarina — in both of which states the winning majorities were, however, within 50%+the polling margin of error — and Minas Gerais.
The PSDB has some interesting new model city-running proposals of its own, especially in Minas Gerais. One hears that Belo Horizonte — where the PT lost in 2008 to a PSB-PSDB coalition put together by Aécio Neves — has actually progressed and gotten more orderly. Neves seems inclined to put an end to the PSDB’s rightward drift and restore the party’s identity as the natural party of the center-left mainstream.
The party really needs a viable proof-of-concept to erase memories of the debacle in Rio Grande do Sul, where another redoubtable technocratic pushing through “public management shock therapy” was politically annihilated by failure and scandal.
But enough about politics. Can new management really drain the swamp? That is the real question.
My policy is to root for Brazilian swamp-drainers of all political persuasions.
The CB reports today, and I translate a portion, (more…)
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