Demonstrators hold banners depicting local politicians during a rally against local government officials and in support of jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva outside of the University of the State of Parana in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg)

Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

(Bloomberg) -- Brazilians go to the polls on Oct. 7 in one of the most hotly-contested elections since the country’s return to democracy over three decades ago. Here are the six leading contenders in the race for the nation’s top job. If nobody gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the two most-voted candidates go to a runoff on Oct. 28.

Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Jair Bolsonaro

  • Candidate for the small, rightwing Social Liberal Party, or PSL
  • Ex-Army captain renowned for his provocative attacks on progressive values, women and minorities
  • Sympathetic to the military dictatorship in Brazil, and running mate is General Hamilton Mourao
  • Front-runner in opinion polls
  • Stabbed by a fanatic at rally on Sept. 6, and spent weeks hospitalized
  • Portrays himself as law-and-order candidate, pledging to ease gun control laws and permit police to kill criminals
  • Professes his ignorance of economics and says policymaking will be delegated to Paulo Guedes, who favors vast privatizations, lowering tax burden and government debt, and central bank independence
  • Motto: “Brazil above everything, and God above everyone”
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Marina Silva

  • Candidate for tiny Rede Sustentabilidade party
  • Mixed-race woman born to a family of poor rubber-tappers in the Amazonian state of Acre
  • Illiterate until age of sixteen, contracted hepatitis, malaria and leishmaniasis as a child
  • Former environment minister in Lula government
  • Vice-presidential candidate is Eduardo Jorge, from the Partido Verde
  • Calls for a “necessary state”—arguing that while the public finances must be brought under control, Brazil's current spending cap is “unreasonable”
  • This is her third campaign for the presidency—in both 2010 and 2014 she came third
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Ciro Gomes

  • Candidate for the leftwing Democratic Labor Party or PDT
  • A former governor of the north-eastern state of Ceara and a former minister of national integration in the Lula government
  • Spent four months as finance minister in 1994 during the presidency of Itamar Franco
  • Running for the presidency for the third time, Gomes is known for his mercurial temperamant
  • Vice-presidential candidate is Senator Katia Abreu, a former agriculture minister
  • Struggled to forge alliances with other leftwing parties in this election
  • Pledges to revoke labor reform and all the oil contracts signed in Temer administration
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Geraldo Alckmin

  • Candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB
  • Four times governor of Sao Paulo and co-founder of PSDB
  • Trained as a doctor, with a specialization in anesthesiology
  • Lost to Lula in 2006 presidential elections
  • Considered the most business-friendly of the main candidates, he is backed by an extensive coalition of centrist parties, but so far he only attracts single digit voter intentions
  • Vice-presidential candidate is Senator Ana Ameila, from the Partido Progressista
  • He proposes cutting corporate taxes and allowing rural residents to carry guns
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Fernando Haddad

  • Candidate of the leftist Workers’ Party
  • Born in Sao Paulo on Jan. 25, 1963 
  • Holds PhD in philosophy from University of Sao Paulo, as well as additional university degrees in law and economics
  • Served as education minister under Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff
  • Was Sao Paulo city mayor 2013-2016; his administration faced large demonstrations against bus fare increases
  • Pledges to undo market-friendly reforms of current President Michel Temer
  • Known as harsh critic of banks; seeks to tax banks that have high interest rate spreads
  • Opposes sale of state-owned companies, including Petrobras and Eletrobras
Army Captain, Rainforest Warrior or Academic: Who’ll Rule Brazil?

Alvaro Dias

  • Candidate for the Podemos party
  • Born in the state of Sao Paulo, raised in Parana state, where his political career began
  • He has switched parties half a dozen times over the course of his career, which he argues is proof of his consistency and their lack of ideological backbone
  • His main proposal consists of what he describes as the ‘refoundation of the Republic’, with a reduction in the number of ministries
  • Vice-presidential candidate is Paulo Rabello de Castro, ex-president of state development bank, BNDES
  • He also wants to sell off dozens of state companies, except the oil company Petrobras, energy utility Eletrobras, and state banks Caixa Economica Federal and Banco do Brasil

Other candidates running for the presidency: Henrique Meirelles (MDB), Guilherme Boulos (Psol), Joao Amoedo (Partido Novo), Joao Goulart Filho (PPL), Jose Maria Eymael (DC), Vera Lucia (PTSU), Cabo Daciolo (Patriota)

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