ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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 Brazil Steps towards Democracy THE victory of Tancredo Neves, in the indirect presidential election decreed by the military regime, marks a tentative step towards democracy in Brazil after two decades of military rule. The military, which seized power in 1964, agreed early last year to transfer power to a civilian president elected by an electoral college, rejecting the popular demand for direct elections. The 686-member electoral college, made up of federal senators and representatives plus assemblymen from each of Brazil's 23 states, elected Neves by 480 votes against 180 votes polled by the pro-military Democratic Socialist Party's candidate, Paulo Maluf. Neves was prime minister in the popular government of Jose Goulart which was deposed by the army in 1964, Tancredo Neves has gone to great lengths to ensure that the military regime does not feel threatened by his victory. He scrupulously refrained from referring to the military regime's repression, mass murders and torture of its opponents. He has assured that, unlike what the civilian government in Argentina has done, no cases would be brought against military personnel for their crimes of arrest, torture, murder, etc As a further sop to the generals (and the US), he has promised that his government would not restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Instead, in his election campaign he focused on issues such as renegotiation of Brazil's $ 96 billion foreign debt, bringing down inflation currently running at 220 per cent, and social benefits for the poor. The only political issue raised by Neves was a pledge to amend the country's constitution so that the next president would be directly elected.

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