Brazil's middle class waver in presidential polls

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Brazil's middle class waver in presidential polls

Brazil's middle class waver in presidential polls
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Brazil has three candidates running for the national presidency this Sunday. Who will the middle class vote for?

The middle class in Brazil is 100-million strong, half the Latin American giant’s population, 60 percent of the electorate.

Hearts might lead left while wallets lead right, as economic good times taper off.

Here’s what some of them told us in the country’s largest city, São Paulo:

“Brazilians are undecided who to vote for. There isn’t much difference between the three candidates.”
“Brazil will continue with the Workers’ Party (PT).”
“I would really like it if Dilma and the PT left the government.”
“Brazil really needs someone to change, both in words and attitudes.”
“I won’t vote Dilma, but I’m not happy with the other candidates.”

After four years of sluggish growth, Brazil’s economy went into recession in the first quarter this year.

Middle class Brazilians felt the impact. Now they have a choice between choosing a market-friendly candidate from the leftist-centrist party or one from the social democrat or socialist parties.

Sean Maluf is one of Brazil’s five percent unemployed, dealing with 6.5 percent inflation on no income.

Maluf said: “I have various friends out of a job like me. The difference is that my contract wasn’t renewed, but they were fired as part of massive cuts. We have multinational companies here in Brazil doing that. And small companies don’t get support from the government.”

Inflation without growth, families without purchasing power and a rise in interest rates that hurts consumer credit are factors creating congestion in the economy, according to expert André Perfeito: “One of the components that made the Brazilian economy dynamic was the increase in family consumption, but investment didn’t keep up. Investment depends on the country’s credit reliability. And we are now in a transition where several issues are being dealt with at the same time. It’s a difficult election.”

Our correspondent Rita Ferreira summed up: “A few hours from the end of presidential campaigning, Brazilians were still divided on who to name for their future president. Polls suggest that the possibility of a victory for Dilma Rousseff in the first round is very small, and that in the second round battle every vote will count.”