We will certainly have a Marcelo for mayor in Rio as of October 30, when the second round of voting takes place. Whether the last name will be Crivella or Freixo will rest on how adventurous or fearful cariocas are feeling. Senator Crivella’s conservative PRB appeals to those who seek order and rational decision-making amid rising crime, high unemployment and the state’s financial crisis. State representative Freixo’s leftist PSOL appeals to those who prioritize human rights, the reduction of social inequality and community participation.
Voters clearly did not want the continuation of the incumbent mayor Eduardo Paes’ PMDB party, which got 16% of valid votes. The issue of candidate Pedro Paulo’s alleged wife-beating seems to have weighed heavily.
Though he was minister of Fishing in former president Dilma Rousseff’s government, Crivella voted for her impeachment. His support is rooted in the evangelical church he belongs to, plus ties to former governor Anthony Garotinho’s clientelist PR party. Freixo voted against Rousseff’s impeachment; his supporters tend to believe that current president Michel Temer came to power by way of a right-wing coup.
Notably — in CarWash investigation times — the biggest winner in the elections yesterday were those who didn’t select a candidate at all: 38% (the sum of abstentions, void and blank ballots). In contrast, Crivella got 28% of valid votes; Freixo took 18%. These numbers would be an even smaller portion of the electorate as a whole.
The Oct. 30 options are so markedly opposite that Rio could see even fewer votes cast, overall.
Voter confidence in politicians is impressively low, yet those who voted for city council demonstrated some measure of support for new faces — despite the fact that changed electoral rules favored incumbents. All 51 council members ran for reelection, but only 33 found enough voters. The reelection rate fell to 35%, from 41% fours years ago.
Whoever gets to City Hall will certainly have a tougher time dealing with the City Council than Eduardo Paes did in his eight years of office: his PMDB party lost eight of their 18 seats. Crivella would have only four; Freixo, six. If citizen watchdog groups such as the new E Aí, Vereador? keep their eyes on council members, this could augur well for more substantive public policy debate.
Ironically, hosting the 2016 Olympics may have hurt Paes’ succession plans. City Hall devoted time, human resources and funds to the Games that might otherwise have gone to other priorities, noted José Marcelo Zacchi, executive director of the metropolitan think-and-do-tank, Casa Fluminense, during a live Facebook page broadcast last night, from the O Globo newsroom. Voters may have noted that, while Paes brought them new schools, day care centers and BRTs, quality is not adequate.
RioRealblog did in fact ascertain, from reliable sources, that the bus line rationalization plan was hurriedly implemented from October 2015 to April 2016 because the same team was needed to draw up Olympic transportation plans.