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Manaus: Less polarized, elections have regional themes and dispute between “old” and “new” politics

Manaus: Less polarized, elections have regional themes and dispute between “old” and “new” politics

While in most of the country the polarization represented by the groups of the current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and the former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) tends to interfere directly in the municipal elections, in Manaus the tone must be different. Local issues, especially in the debate on public safety, and dispute between a more traditional politics represented by the current mayor and candidate for re-election, David Almeida (Avante) and a new generation represented, for example, by the federal deputy Amom Mandel (Citizenship), just 23 years old and in his first term as a deputy.

“Here the parties mix and the names mix; regional themes are preponderant and this explains certain alliances. Amazonian politics is led by groups and not by parties or ideologies. In the articulations of the state government, the candidates use the municipal elections as a dress rehearsal, and this determines certain alliances, as well as certain ideological conjunctures”, says the political scientist and professor at the Federal University of the Amazon (Ufam), Gilson Gil.

In previous years, the capital has innovated little in its choices and has elected mayors from the center-right of the political spectrum, Amazonino Mendes, former governor, for example, has been at the helm of the city hall three times and Arthur Neto (no party). also. Alfredo Nascimento (PL) has held the office twice, as has Manoel Henriques Ribeiro; the survey carried out considered the years from 1983 to 2021.

According to the electoral survey by the Real Time Big Data institute, released on May 27 and commissioned by Record, when their names were presented to voters, Amon Mandel and David Almeida reached 25% and 24% of voting intentions, respectively. In third place is the federal deputy Alberto Neto (PL) with 13%, closely followed by Roberto Cidade (União) with 12%.

The pre-candidates for these elections tend to explore above all the issue of the lack of security in the region. State revealed that the Amazon region has become a point of dispute between the PCC, Comando Vermelho and 20 other factions. In addition, the security plan for the area has not been implemented a year after the Lula government promised.

“There has been an exponential growth in urban violence and drug use; today some neighborhoods are under the control of drug traffickers who control the logistics of drug distribution in the rest of the country and abroad”, analyzes the consultant and professor of international relations, Breno Leite.

According to the Public Security Map 2024, a survey conducted by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Manaus is the third municipality with the highest number of intentional homicides in the country. The city reached a total of 866 annual victims in 2023. The study takes into account the number of total homicides. “If we consider the population of the cities and do the calculations to find the proportionality, Manaus is in first place in the rate of intentional homicides: 41.9 per 100,000 inhabitants,” says deputy Comandante Dan (Podemos), president of the Public Security Commission of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Amazonas (ALEAM).

A tangle of ancient roots

The Amazonian political game is complex. In 2020, in the last municipal elections, the current mayor, David Almeida, was with governor Wilson Lima (União) and received the support of União Brasil to defeat senator Eduardo Braga (MDB) and former governor Amazonino Mendes. Currently, the alliance between Almeida and Lima has collapsed, as has the party’s support. Since the mayor has not been able to dialogue with his allies, the Union is now tending to nominate its own candidate: Roberto Cidade.

Currently, Senators Braga and Omar Aziz (PSD) are interested in the candidacy of Cidade, chaired by Aleam. Wilson Lima’s shift to the right and Almeida’s inertia regarding the senators’ articulations were responsible for this recalculation of the path. “Since his second year in office, the current mayor has been encouraged to dance several ‘toad oxen’. The governor took him to dance, but they didn’t understand the steps well. Of the three senators from Amazonia, two flirted with him (Aziz and Braga).

Almeida also faces difficulties with the public machine in hand. The mayor is criticized by opponents for having focused on recreational activities, events and small jobs, and for having little addressed issues such as urban mobility, security and infrastructure. Contacted by the report, the politician’s advisers did not respond to questions.

Manaus, as seen in the 2022 presidential elections, seems to be a municipality that leans to the right. It was one of only three cities in the state where former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) defeated current President Lula (PT): 61.28% against 38.72% in the second round. The Workers’ Party has difficulty inserting itself in the region and has more strength within the state. Bolsa Família has contributed to the positive scenario in the periphery, but the relationship between the President of the Republic and Lava Jato has damaged the party’s image in the capital.

The PT’s pre-candidate will be former federal deputy Marcelo Ramos (PT). Having just joined the party with Lula’s support, he was not re-elected to the Chamber of Deputies after serving a term marked by his opposition to the Bolsonaro government. The PT’s national secretary for women, Anne Moura, also ran as a pre-candidate, but withdrew after speaking with the head of the federal executive, who represented Ramos.

On the other side of the polarization, the federal deputy delegate Alberto Neto (PL) wants to give visibility to the right: “I represent in these elections the right-wing political project, led by President Jair Bolsonaro. This is not a symbolic support. I want to show that Manaus is an example of a city that cultivates the values ​​we value most: ‘God, Homeland, family, order and freedom.'” He argues that the city needs a “shock of order” to restructure the situation.

Another pre-candidate, Amom Mandel, is a young former councilor and current federal deputy. His banner is breaking with what is established, which he identifies as “old political practices.” “I am independent (…) I belong to a party that makes me feel comfortable in making my decisions, precisely because I want to fight against these old practices that have placed the Amazon in the worst positions in social and economic rankings,” says the pre-candidate.

While Mandel defines himself as “centre”, Almeida is linked to the centre-right. Until then, the two will compete in the elections on equal terms, at least in numerical terms, as the polls show. The pre-candidate of Cidadania, however, may have to leave the centre position to strengthen himself.

“The weight of the administrative machine is very large and this ends up making the current manager a favorite for re-election. There is room for newcomers, like Amom, in a context of dissatisfaction. However, he will have to make agreements and end up having to ally himself with some of the dominant groups, if he really wants to win in a possible second round”, says Professor Gilson Gil.

Regardless of who is elected, the relationship with the national and state Executive will not be entirely contrasted by the municipal manager. According to political scientist and professor of Ufam, Ludolf Junior, “the Amazon is a relatively peripheral state in Brazil, so it often needs the support of federal resources and politicians, evidently, in search of this, tend to be more pragmatic in time to decide.”

Find out who the pre-candidates in Manaus are:

– David Almeida (Avante), mayor

– Amom Mandel (Citizenship), MP

– Captain Alberto Neto (PL), federal deputy

– Carol Menezes (PP), Army Reserve Colonel

– Maria do Carmo Seffair, lawyer, professor and principal

– Marcelo Ramos (PT), lawyer and former federal deputy

– Roberto Cidade (União Brasil), State Representative

– Wilker Barreto (Mobiliza), State Representative

Source: Terra

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