General Elections, 1994
The 1994 elections were significant because the presidential election
coincided with the general elections for governor, senator, and
federal and state deputy for the first time since 1950. It was expected
that a strong presidential showing would have strong coattails at
the state level. However, many thought that election results proved
otherwise. Coalition-building was generally inconsistent between
the national and state levels, because local political animosities
and affinities were so diverse from state to state that none of
the presidential coalitions could cover all the possible combinations.
Among the major parties, the PFL,
PTB (Brazilian Labor Party), and Progressive Party decided not
to field separate presidential candidates. The PMDB,
(Democratic Labor Party), PPR
(Progressive Renewal Party), Workers' Party, and PSDB
decided to run their own candidates. Four minor parties--the
Liberal Party (Partido Liberal--PL), National Order Redefinition
Party (Partido da Redefinição da Ordem Nacional--Prona),
PRN (Party of National Reconstruction), and Social Christian Party
(Partido Social Cristão--PSC)--also nominated candidates.
Despite opposition from a minority, the PMDB nominated former São
Paulo governor Orestes Quêrcia as its presidential candidate.
The PDT again nominated Leonel Brizola. Lula's Workers' Party articulated
a broad coalition on the left, including the Brazilian
Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Brasileiro--PSB), Popular
Socialist Party (Partido Popular Socialista--PPS), PC
do B (Communist Party of Brazil), and Green Party (Partido Verde--PV).
However, Marxist wings of the Workers' Party, having gained control
of the party's Executive Committee, imposed a difficult, radical
platform on the campaign.
had become minister of finance in May 1993 and had assembled the
same PSDB economic team that had formulated the Cruzado Plan in
1986. This time, however, the team put together a stabilization
plan that included the components missing in 1986. The hope was
that the initiative would boost Cardoso's potential candidacy into
the second round. In February 1994, Congress approved the Real Value
Units (Unidades Reais de Valor--URVs; see real (R$) in Glossary)
Stabilization Plan, which gave the minister of finance almost absolute
power to impound or reallocate budgeted funds, reduce the fiscal
deficit, and conduct a rescheduling of the foreign debt.
The impact of the Real
Plan on the preference polls was even more dramatic than PSDB
strategists had imagined. They had thought that, at best, if the
plan were a success, Cardoso might pull even with Lula by the end
of August, thus guaranteeing a second round in November. However,
Cardoso surpassed Lula in the Datafolha firm's presidential preference
poll results at the end of July by successfully branding the Workers'
Party as against the Real Plan and for inflation.
Cardoso went on to win the election outright on the first round
with 54.3 percent of the valid votes cast (44.1 percent of the total
vote, including blank and null ballots) (see table 25, Appendix).
Lula placed second with 27.0 percent. Cardoso's PSDB-PFL-PTB coalition
received additional support from the PMDB and PPR, which abandoned
their candidates and climbed aboard the Cardoso bandwagon. In addition
to electing the president and a majority of the governors, the Center
coalition returned substantial majorities to Congress.
The social-liberal alliance, the Big Center, that elected Cardoso
on the first round enjoyed only moderate presidential coattails
at the state level (see table 26, Appendix). The PSDB-PFL-PTB alliance
elected nine (33 percent) governors, twenty-four of fifty-four (44
percent) senators up for election, 182 of 513 (35 percent) federal
deputies, and 324 of 1,045 (31 percent) state deputies. Cardoso
placed first in every state except the Federal District (Brasília)
and Rio Grande do Sul. Lula surpassed Cardoso in the Federal District
and Rio Grande do Sul, where his coattails pulled the Workers' Party
gubernatorial candidates into the second round.
The 1994 gubernatorial election was the fourth in a series of direct
elections for governor since their reinstatement in 1982. Compared
with 1990, the PSDB had the best performance of all parties in 1994.
The PSDB was formed hastily in June 1988, and in 1990 elected only
one governor (Ceará). In 1994 the PSDB won six governorships,
including Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Rio
de Janeiro. These three states account for nearly 60 percent
of Brazil's gross national product (GNP--see Glossary) and tax base.
Certainly, presidential coattails and the Real Plan were important
factors in these three second-round victories. Brizola's PDT lost
the three states won in 1990, but in 1994 elected the governors
of Paraná (Jaime Lerner) and Mato Grosso (Dante de Oliveira),
both on the first round. The Workers' Party made it into the second
round in three states and won in two: Brasília and Espírito
Santo. The two victories gave the Workers' Party a chance to demonstrate
how it would manage a state government. The party had already elected
mayors in major cities (São Paulo, Porto
Alegre, and Belo
Horizonte) in 1988 and 1992.
Of the fifty-four Senate seats up for election in 1994, only nine
incumbents were reelected. Six of the twenty-seven senators elected
in 1990 were replaced by their respective alternates (five were
elected to other offices and one died). Thus, in 1995 fifty-one
of the eighty-one senators were new, although five of the latter
had served in the Senate before 1990. The PMDB, PFL, and PSDB continued
to have the largest upper-house delegations; and the PFL made substantial
gains (see table 27, Appendix). The most significant change was
the advance of the left. From only two senators in 1991, this group
increased to seven (five from the Workers' Party). The PPS, the
former PCB (Brazilian Communist Party), elected its first senator
(Roberto Freire) since Luís Carlos Prestes was elected in
The Chamber of Deputies was enlarged in 1995 with the expansion
of the São Paulo State delegation from sixty to seventy as
mandated by the 1988 constitution. Turnover in the lower house in
1995 (275 new deputies out of 513, or 53.6 percent) was slightly
lower than that in 1991. As in 1991, the Chamber of Deputies in
1995 continued to have two larger parties (PMDB and PFL) and six
middle-sized parties. By electing deputies in all five regions of
Brazil, these eight parties, as well as the PC do B, have a more
Voter turnout was lower in 1994 (82.2 percent) than in 1989 (88.1
percent), and blank and null votes were more frequent in 1994 than
in 1989. These differences may have resulted in part from the fact
that the 1994 election was more complicated, with two ballots and
Data as of April 1997