2006 Brazilian general election

General elections were held in Brazil on 1 October 2006 to elect the president, National Congress and state governors, with a second round of the presidential election on 29 October as no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the first round.

2006 Brazilian general election

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2010 →
Presidential election
1 October 2006 (first round)
29 October 2006 (second round)
  Lula - foto oficial - 05 jan 2007 (cropped 2).jpg Alckmin em Cooperação entre o Instituto Ayrton Senna, Secretaria da Educação e Artesp (cropped).jpg
Candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Geraldo Alckmin
Alliance The Strength of the People For a Decent Brazil
Home state São Paulo[a] São Paulo
Running mate José Alencar José Jorge
States carried 19 + DF 7
Popular vote 58,295,042 37,543,178
Percentage 60.83% 39.17%

2006 Brazil Presidential Elections, Round 2.svg
2006 Brazil Presidential Elections, Round 1.svg
Presidential election results

President before election

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Elected President

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Legislative election
1 October 2006

All 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
27 of the 81 seats in the Senate
Party Leader % Seats +/–
Chamber of Deputies
PT Ricardo Berzoini 15.01 83 -8
PMDB Michel Temer 14.57 89 +15
PSDB Tasso Jereissati 13.62 65 -6
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 10.93 65 -19
PP 7.15 42 -7
PSB Roberto Amaral 6.15 27 +5
PDT Carlos Lupi 5.21 24 +3
PTB Roberto Jefferson 4.72 22 -4
PL Valdemar Costa Neto 4.37 23 -3
PPS 3.90 21 +6
PV José Luiz Penna 3.61 13 +8
PCdoB 2.13 13 +1
PSC 1.88 9 +8
PSOL Heloísa Helena 1.23 3 New
PRONA Enéas Carneiro 0.97 2 -4
PMN 0.94 3 +2
PTC Daniel Tourinho 0.87 4 +4
PHS 0.47 2 +2
PTdoB Luis Tibé 0.33 1 +1
PAN 0.28 1 +1
PRB 0.26 1 New
Federal Senate
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 25.66 18 -1
PT Ricardo Berzoini 19.22 10 -4
PSDB Tasso Jereissati 12.50 14 +3
PMDB Michel Temer 12.03 16 -3
PCdoB 7.54 2 +2
PDT Carlos Lupi 5.95 5 0
PP 5.01 1 0
PTB Roberto Jefferson 3.17 4 +1
PSB Roberto Amaral 2.54 3 -1
PPS 1.46 1 0
PL Valdemar Costa Neto 0.83 3 0
PRTB Levy Fidelix 0.76 1 +1
PSOL Heloísa Helena 0.42 1 New
PRB 0.31 2 New
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.

Elected by a wide margin in the 2002 presidential elections, incumbent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the centre-left Workers' Party (PT) ran for reelection. During his first term in office, Lula implemented a wide array of social programs, including the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) and Bolsa Família (Family Allowance) programs. The programs were credited for a historic 27.7% drop in the poverty rate during Lula's first term in office.[1] However, the Mensalão scandal, a corruption scandal that implicated politicians in the PT[2] and other parties,[3] briefly caused a decline in Lula's popularity in the year prior to the election.[4] As he did in 2002, Lula would choose centre-right Vice President José Alencar of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) as his running mate, despite rumors he would choose a Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) member.[5][6] During his presidential campaign Lula performed best among working-class voters.[7]

The Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), the dominant centre-right force in Brazilian politics and the PT's main rival at the national level, chose former Governor of São Paulo Geraldo Alckmin as the party's presidential nominee.[8] Closely affiliated with the Brazilian business establishment,[9] Alckmin was very popular as Governor of São Paulo,[10] a stronghold of the PSDB. During his presidential campaign Alckmin pushed for tax cuts[11] and performed best among wealthy voters[7] while trailing in the working-class vote to Lula. To expand his coalition, Alckmin chose Senator José Jorge of Pernambuco, a member of the centre-right Liberal Front Party (PFL), as his running mate.

Though Lula was expected to win in the first round with a large majority, the President unexpectedly received 48.7% to Alckmin's 41.6%, mandating the need for a second round.[12] This was partially attributed to a late breaking scandal in 2006 known as Dossiergate which involved PT leadership, which allowed Alckmin to surge significantly in the weeks prior to the runoff.[13] Nonetheless, Lula won in a landslide in the second round, with Alckmin garnering a lower vote percentage than he did in the first round.[14] In 2007, Lula would take office for the second time as President of Brazil.


The 2006 election was held amid a clear reorganization of the political forces of the country. After three failed attempts, Workers' Party candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was eventually elected president. The financial market feared his government would be a threat to the new-found economic stability. Lula, once considered a member of the radical left wing, implemented unorthodox neoliberal policies on the economic field, resembling the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, but not succumbing, however, to privatization pressures. On the social field, Lula gained notice for Fome Zero, a successful measure to eradicate extreme poverty. Cardoso was mentioned as a potential candidate in 2006.[15]

The Workers' Party was, thus, deemed less socialist and more social democratic. As the party moved deeper into the centre-left spectrum, allying with centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, a series of complaints were made by members of its far left factions, which accused it of betraying its ideals and founding charter. Despite the discredit of the Workers' Party among traditional leftists, they strongly supported Lula as the real left wing alternative. The Brazilian Communist Party, for instance, supported Lula on the second round, unlike its presidential candidate Heloísa Helena, informing its members of the alleged regression Geraldo Alckmin would represent if elected.

Two former members of the Workers' Party, Cristovam Buarque and Heloísa Helena, launched their candidacies as "alternative left" candidates for the Democratic Labour Party and the Socialism and Liberty Party, respectively. They once discussed the possibility of forming a coalition themselves. Both parties were criticised by the left on the second round for not supporting Lula.

The campaign for void voting reached its peak on the 2006 election, with MTV Brasil (unlike its American branch, which advocates voting initiatives like Rock the Vote among younger audiences) becoming the first TV network to officially support it.

Electoral systemEdit

The 2006 elections were the last marked by the now extinct "verticalization rule", that forced parties to ally on the state level with the same parties for which they were allied nationwide. This rule was introduced at the 2002 general elections by the Supreme Electoral Court.

Workers' Party vice-presidential selectionEdit

In 2002, the ability of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, to finally get elected after three previous attempts. The choice of millionaire businessman José Alencar, then a member of the Liberal Party (PL), was partially credited as a reason for his victory. Alencar was widely-known and respected as a self-made man in industrial circles and his choice signaled that Lula was not going to transform the country into a full-fledged socialist economy.[16]

Nevertheless, going into the 2006 presidential election, Lula considered replacing Alencar in favor of a different running mate. Indeed, one report by Folha de S.Paulo in 2006 stated that it was "incredibly unlikely" that Alencar would be chosen again.[17] Though Lula and Alencar became close friends in office, even being described as "brothers" in spite of their political differences,[18] there was speculation that Lula would choose a running mate from the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB). The centrist PMDB was considered to be a kingmaker in the National Congress and Lula sought to keep the powerful party in his governing bloc.[19][20]

PMBD leaders mentioned as possible running mates for Lula include:[21] Renan Calheiros, a Senator from Alagoas considered to be a member of the pro-Lula wing of the party;[22] Germano Rigotto, the neoliberal[23] Governor of Rio Grande do Sul; Jarbas Vasconcelos, the Governor of Pernambuco and critic of Lula;[24] Helio Costa, who was serving in Lula's government as Minister of Communications at the time.

Presidential candidatesEdit

Candidates in the runoffEdit

# Party/coalition Presidential candidate Political office(s) Vice-Presidential candidate
"The Strength of the People"
PT, PCdoB, PRB[b]
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) President of Brazil 2003–11; Federal Deputy from São Paulo 1987–91; PT National President 1980–88, 1990–94 José Alencar (PRB)
"For a Decent Brazil"
Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) Governor of São Paulo 2001–2006; Vice Governor of São Paulo 1995–2001; Federal Deputy from São Paulo 1987–95; State Deputy of São Paulo 1983–87; Mayor of Pindamonhangaba 1977–82; City Councillor of Pindamonhangaba 1973–77 José Jorge (PFL)

Candidates failing to make the runoffEdit

# Party/coalition Presidential candidate Political office(s) Vice-Presidential candidate
12 Cristovam Buarque (PDT) Senator for the Federal District 2003–19; Minister of the Education 2003–04; Governor of the Federal District 1995–99 Jefferson Peres (PDT)
17 Luciano Bivar (PSL) Federal Deputy 1999–2003; PSL National President 1998–2018 Américo de Souza (PSL)
27 José Maria Eymael (PSDC) PSDC National President since 1997; Federal Deputy from São Paulo 1986–95 José Paulo Neto (PSDC)
44 Ana Maria Rangel (PRP) Delma Gama e Narcini (PRP)
"Left-Wing Front"
Heloísa Helena (PSOL) PSOL National President 2004–10; Senator for Alagoas 1999–2007; State Deputy of Alagoas 1995–99; Vice Mayor of Maceió 1993–95 César Benjamin (PSOL)

Denied candidacyEdit

# Party/coalition Presidential candidate Political office(s) Vice-Presidential candidate
29 Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO) PCO National President since 1995 Pedro Paulo de Abreu (PCO)


Starting from the end of 2005, the most discussed issues about the 2006 national elections involved the country's four biggest parties: PFL, PMDB, PSDB and PT.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) ran for reelection [1], but he did not confirm his candidacy until June 2006. This was regarded as a cautious move in case something major happened on the political spectrum that could harm his candidacy, especially regarding the 2005 political scandal, still under investigation.

At the end of 2005, several names were regarded in the PSDB as potential candidates for the presidential elections, such as former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, senator Tasso Jereissati, Minas Gerais governor Aécio Neves, São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin and São Paulo mayor José Serra. By the beginning of 2006, Alckmin and Serra were considered the only two actual potential candidates, and the other three would choose between them (or determine a way by which the choice would be made). Geraldo Alckmin was the chosen candidate, whereas Serra is running for governor of São Paulo.

The PFL was planning the candidacy of Rio de Janeiro mayor César Maia. Another possibility was to appoint the vice-president nominee for PSDB presidential candidate. Maia initially said he would agree with the latter only if the presidential candidate was José Serra, but later accepted the possibility of the party appointing a name to run with Geraldo Alckmin, which was eventually senator José Jorge.

In the PMDB there was division. Some, including party president Michel Temer, wanted the party to have a candidate of its own for the presidential race, and scheduled primaries within the party, with two prospective candidates: former Rio de Janeiro governor Anthony Garotinho and Rio Grande do Sul governor Germano Rigotto. Another section of the party, though, wished to ally with president Lula and appoint the vice-president nominee to run with him. This "governist part" of the party was headed by senators Renan Calheiros and José Sarney. There was also a third possibility of making an alliance with PSDB. The PMDB decided not to take any part in the presidential elections and became free to make any coalition in the states.

Aside from these four parties, the smaller ones had no clear course of action. The PSOL was the first to appoint a candidate, senator Heloisa Helena.

The three main candidates were later joined by Cristóvam Buarque (PDT), Luciano Bivar (PSL), José Maria Eymael (PSDC) and Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO). Ana Maria Rangel (PRP), who also registered her candidacy, was ruled out after internal disagreements with her own party, but was able to revert the situation and regain her right to participate in the presidential race.

The first debate took part on 14 August, featuring Heloisa Helena, Cristóvam Buarque, Luciano Bivar and José Maria Eymael. Lula refused to participate, whereas Rui Costa Pimenta was not invited.

On 15 August, the official electoral programmes started being aired on television and radio. Every weekday, all candidates have a few prime-time minutes to put forward their ideas and plans. The time allocated to each one is loosely based on the number of Congress representatives each coalition has.

Also on 15 August, the Supreme Electoral Court decided to revoke the registration of the PCO candidate, Rui Costa Pimenta. The court ruling was based on the fact that the party had not presented its accounts for the 2002 general elections within the deadline specified by law. Pimenta, however, managed to retain his candidacy: the matter is pending decision.

Polls varied little in the two months prior to the election, showing Lula with over 50% of the valid votes, followed by Alckmin, Heloisa Helena, and Buarque. Nevertheless, the difference between Lula's figures and the sum of his opponents' shortened on the eve of the election.

On 28 September, the PT candidate refused to appear at a debate hosted by Globo TV. Explaining his decision in a letter addressed to the TV station, Lula claimed that all his opponents would take the opportunity to team up and attack him. Three days before the election, the last debate was expected to have a large audience.

On 1 October the first round ended with no winner. Lula led the field with 48.6 percent of the vote. Although he came just a few thousand votes short of a first-round victory, his vote share was roughly 1% less of the other candidates' combined total. This forced him into a run-off with Alckmin, who placed second.


Despite being absent of the first-round debates, Lula faced Alckmin in four debates in the second round, each one of them aired by one of the four most important television channels in Brazil - Band, SBT, Record and two days before the election, on Globo TV.

Since the first debate, Alckmin accused Lula of being lenient with the members of his government who had to resign after being charged in many scandals since 2005. Also he tried to underestimate the achievements the president claimed to obtain during his term, like reducing of poverty and inflation rates, claiming his results were consequence of the favorable international economic scenario and the achievements of his antecessor Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Alckmin's party.

Lula however claimed that despite his government is under investigation, both Cardoso and Alckmin halted many investigations on their administrations with dubious methods. According to analysts, Lula dealt damage to Alckmin most when he accused him of threatening the Bolsa Família program, which attends millions of low-income Brazilian families, and questioning the privatizations done during the Cardoso government claiming that most of them were unnecessary and the state companies in question were sold for sums much lower than their true market value, like the Vale do Rio Doce, sold by R$3.3 billion at the time, but now profits this same amount in a quarter of year. Also he claimed that there would be no guarantee that other companies could be sold like state oil giant Petrobras, the country's largest and most profitable company, in case of Alckmin's victory.

Whether the formula worked or not, the fact is Lula's poll numbers skyrocketed and in the end, he was elected for a second term as president by a 20 million vote margin, while Alckmin got fewer votes than in the first round. Despite this, Alckmin won seven states Lula had carried in 2002- Amapá, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo- while Lula won Alagoas, the only state to vote against him in 2002.


First roundEdit

Date Host Moderator Cristovam Buarque (PDT) Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) Heloísa Helena (PSOL) Lula (PT) Eymael (PSDC) Luciano Bivar (PSL) Ana Maria Rangel (PRP)
14 August 2006 Rede Bandeirantes
BandNews TV
BandNews FM
Rádio Bandeirantes
Ricardo Boechat Present Present Present Absent Present Present Not invited
14 September 2006 TV Gazeta Maria Lydia Flandoli Present Present Present Absent Not invited Not invited Not invited
28 September 2006 Rede Globo William Bonner Present Present Present Absent Not invited Not invited Not invited

Second roundEdit

Date Host Moderator Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) Lula (PT)
8 October 2006 Rede Bandeirantes
BandNews TV
BandNews FM
Rádio Bandeirantes
Ricardo Boechat Present Present
17 October 2006 TV Gazeta Maria Lydia Flandoli Cancelled
19 October 2006 SBT Ana Paula Padrão Present Present
23 October 2006 Rede Record Celso Freitas Present Present
27 October 2006 Rede Globo
Portal G1
William Bonner Present Present



President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva celebrating his electoral victory after the 2006 elections.
CandidateRunning matePartyFirst roundSecond round
Luiz Inácio Lula da SilvaJosé Alencar (PRB)Workers' Party46,662,36548.6158,295,04260.83
Geraldo AlckminJosé Jorge (PFL)Brazilian Social Democracy Party39,968,36941.6437,543,17839.17
Heloísa HelenaCésar BenjaminSocialism and Liberty Party6,575,3936.85
Cristovam BuarqueJefferson PeresDemocratic Labour Party2,538,8442.64
Ana Maria RangelDelma Gama e NarciniProgressive Republican Party126,4040.13
José Maria EymaelJosé Paulo NeloChristian Social Democratic Party63,2940.07
Luciano BivarAmérico de SouzaSocial Liberal Party62,0640.06
Valid votes95,996,73391.5895,838,22093.96
Invalid/blank votes8,823,7268.426,160,0016.04
Total votes104,820,459100.00101,998,221100.00
Registered voters/turnout125,913,13483.25125,913,13481.01
Source: Superior Electoral Court[25]

Voter demographicsEdit

Demographic group Lula Alckmin Total
Total vote 61 39 100
Men 64 36 48
Women 58 42 52
16–24 years old 60 40 18
25–34 years old 63 37 24
35–44 years old 61 39 20
45–59 years old 61 39 23
60 and older 61 39 15
Less than high school 67 33 45
High school diploma 59 41 39
Bachelor’s degree or more 47 53 16
Family income
Under 2x min wage 69 31 44
2-5x min wage 59 41 36
5-10x min wage 49 51 11
Over 10x min wage 44 56 9
Southeast 57 43 45
South 48 52 16
Northeast 76 24 25
North + Central-West 61 39 14
Source: Datafolha

Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Workers' Party13,989,85915.0183–8
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party13,580,51714.5789+15
Brazilian Social Democracy Party12,691,04313.6265–6
Liberal Front Party10,182,30810.9365–19
Progressive Party6,662,3097.1542–7
Brazilian Socialist Party5,732,4646.1527+5
Democratic Labour Party4,854,0175.2124+3
Brazilian Labour Party4,397,7434.7222–4
Liberal Party4,074,6184.3723–3
Popular Socialist Party3,630,4623.9021+6
Green Party3,368,5613.6113+8
Communist Party of Brazil1,982,3232.1313+1
Social Christian Party1,747,8631.889+8
Socialism and Liberty Party1,149,6191.233New
Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order907,4940.972–4
Party of National Mobilization875,6860.943+2
Christian Labour Party806,6620.874+4
Humanist Party of Solidarity435,3280.472+2
Social Democratic Christian Party354,2170.380–1
Labour Party of Brazil311,8330.331+1
Party of the Nation's Retirees264,6820.281+1
Brazilian Republican Party244,0590.261New
Progressive Republican Party233,4970.2500
Social Liberal Party190,7930.200–1
Brazilian Labour Renewal Party171,9080.1800
National Labour Party149,8090.1600
United Socialist Workers' Party101,3070.1100
Brazilian Communist Party64,7660.0700
Workers' Cause Party29,0830.0300
Valid votes93,184,83088.93
Invalid/blank votes11,593,92111.07
Total votes104,778,751100.00
Registered voters/turnout125,827,11983.27
Source: Election Resources


Liberal Front Party21,653,81225.66618–1
Workers' Party16,222,15919.22210–4
Brazilian Social Democracy Party10,547,77812.50514+3
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party10,148,02412.03416–3
Communist Party of Brazil6,364,0197.5412+2
Democratic Labour Party5,023,0415.95150
Progressive Party4,228,4315.01110
Brazilian Labour Party2,676,4693.1734+1
Brazilian Socialist Party2,143,3552.5413–1
Green Party1,425,7651.69000
Popular Socialist Party1,232,5711.46110
Liberal Party696,5010.83130
Brazilian Labour Renewal Party644,1110.7611+1
Socialism and Liberty Party351,5270.4201New
Brazilian Republican Party264,1550.3102New
United Socialist Workers' Party196,6360.23000
Social Christian Party131,5480.16000
Labour Party of Brazil69,9230.08000
Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order69,6400.08000
Brazilian Communist Party62,7560.07000
Social Democratic Christian Party53,0250.06000
Social Liberal Party46,5420.06000
Christian Labour Party39,6900.05000
Workers' Cause Party27,4760.03000
Humanist Party of Solidarity24,9400.03000
Progressive Republican Party12,9540.02000
Party of National Mobilization12,9250.02000
National Labour Party11,0630.01000
Party of the Nation's Retirees2,9690.00000
Valid votes84,383,80580.54
Invalid/blank votes20,394,95219.46
Total votes104,778,757100.00
Registered voters/turnout125,827,11983.27
Source: Election Resources

Gubernatorial electionsEdit

The Governors elected in 2006 were the following:


  1. ^ Born in Pernambuco, electoral based in São Paulo
  2. ^ Unofficially supporting parties: PL and PSB.
  3. ^ Unofficially supporting party: PPS.


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