Economy and crime: what Brazil's presidential candidates say

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazil's leading five presidential candidates in the October elections range from a jailed leftist to a far-right ex-army captain.

Here's what you need to know about what they propose for fixing the floundering economy and the growing security nightmare in Latin America's biggest country.

- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 72 -


Lula is in prison for corruption and therefore unlikely to make the ballot. But you can't ignore the Workers' Party candidate because for all his troubles he easily leads opinion polls.

Not surprisingly, he says he'd lift a freeze on public spending and tighten back up labor laws. That would reverse market friendly, but unpopular attempts by current center-right President Michel Temer to instill discipline in an economy burdened by more than 12 percent unemployment and sickly growth.


Lula says that Brazil, where about 64,000 people die violently every year, needs tighter gun control and looser anti-drugs legislation. "The current policy is wrong, unjust and inefficient," he says.

- Jair Bolsonaro, 63 ?


The right-winger has surprised many with the solidity of his support, which now puts him in second place behind Lula in the polls.

Although a longtime congressman, Bolsonaro has a paper-thin record of legislative achievements, so markets in particular are watching keenly.

Bolsonaro says he supports reducing public debt by 20 percent through privatizations.


This is Bolsonaro's headline issue. As an ex-military officer who praises Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship, he projects a hard-man image and wants to loosen gun laws to encourage self-defense.

He'd have 16-year-olds tried as adults.

- Marina Silva, 60 ?


The lifelong ecological campaigner naturally leans left, but supports some austerity measures. She says there'd be no "dogmatic" policy on the controversial issue of privatizations.

The only companies she'd keep off the table are iconic state oil giant Petrobras and the state banks Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica. She says pension reforms, a key and hugely unpopular austerity measure, are "unavoidable" because the state cannot afford current levels.


Silva would tighten gun laws, reduce the massively overcrowded prison system through alternative forms of penalties, and allow a referendum on legalizing pot consumption.

- Geraldo Alckmin, 65 -


Seen as the most establishment of all the candidates -- not a good thing at a time when Brazilians are sick of politics -- Alckmin has strong support among investors.

He'd "eliminate public debt in two years," he says, streamline the pension system and tax code, and favor privatization of state companies.


Integrate police intelligence systems around the country and create a national guard with authority to deploy around the country.

- Ciro Gomes, 60 ?


A leftist hoping to take some of Lula's votes if the ex-president doesn't run, Gomes says pension reform and budget cuts are necessary.

But he would renationalize deep sea oil fields sold to foreign companies under Temer to keep "control of strategic natural resources."


Gomes also calls for greater coordination between the country's scattered police forces and says he'd create a new force for the porous borders.