Cablegate: Workers Party Elections Go to Second Round; Lula
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SAO PAULO 001076
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PGOV ELAB BR
SUBJECT: WORKERS PARTY ELECTIONS GO TO SECOND ROUND; LULA
REF: (A) SAO PAULO 1071; (B) BRASILIA 2834 AND PREVIOUS
1. (U) Summary: Party leaders are claiming a large turnout in Sunday's internal election of the ruling Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT), while the press is reporting widespread irregularities. Leaders of moderate and leftist factions are trading accusations of fraud. President Lula did not vote, disappointing the faithful in his hometown. Preliminary results based on some 73 percent of ballots counted show Lula's centrist Campo Majoritario candidate Ricardo Berzoini with 42.8 percent of the vote, followed by Valter Pomar of the leftist Axis of the Left with 17 percent. Berzoini has already acknowledged that a second-round vote will be needed, and pledged to reach out to the party's left wing for support. The leftists, for their part, vowed to unite to defeat the Campo Majoritario. End Summary.
2. (U) Press reports have focused on incidents, mostly in Sao Paulo city and nearby suburbs, of recruiters rounding up large number of people, driving them to the polls, paying their party dues, and in some cases telling them how to vote or even filling out their ballots. (Some individuals thus "recruited" claimed to be unaware they were PT members.) It is unclear how widespread these round-ups were, and too early to tell whether they affected any results. Candidates for the national presidency insisted that such incidents were isolated. The PT's election organizers promised to investigate all allegations.
3. (U) Party leaders and members of the Campo Majoritario had expressed hope that President Lula would appear at the polls in his hometown of Sao Bernardo do Campo, or at the party's national headquarters in Sao Paulo, to inspire voters, but he did not vote. A spokesman indicated that Lula wanted to avoid intervening in the party's internal dispute, but many observers believe he in fact wanted to distance himself from the party's woes and its tarnished reputation.
4. (U) Preliminary results released Monday night by the PT estimate a nation-wide turnout of about 39 percent of registered party voters, more than double the required quorum of 15 percent. With about 73 percent of the ballots counted, Berzoini reportedly enjoys a comfortable lead with 42.8 percent over Valter Pomar with 17 percent. Three other candidates - ultra-leftist Plinio de Arruda Sampaio, leftist Raul Pont, and moderate Maria do Rosario -- each garnered in the range of 12-13 percent. Since no candidate received 50 percent, the top two will go into a runoff election scheduled for October 9.
5. Berzoini has already acknowledged the inevitability of a second round and has begun to reach out to other factions for support. The other candidates, however, claiming that the Campo Majoritario has brought disgrace on the party, have pledged to band together to defeat Berzoini. Interim Party President Tarso Genro was quoted as saying that, regardless of the final outcome, "it is absolutely clear that no faction or slate has an absolute majority. Decisions made by the party will not be automatic according to quantitative majority, they will be the result of dialogue, and more broad-based." 6. Pomar, a "movement socialist" who favors public ownership of the means of production, defeated Berzoini in Sao Paulo city and state. His strong showing was due in large part to the support of ex-Mayor of Sao Paulo Marta Suplicy. Pomar also reportedly won in Santa Catarina state. Preliminary results are available thus far only in the race for national president, and not for the national leadership slate or for state and local officials. Official, final results are expected in ten days.
7. (U) This message