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Brazil’s Anglican Church issues guidance ahead of Presidential and parliamentary elections

Posted on: September 17, 2018 2:49 PM
Three of Brazil’s 13 presidential candidates: Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, Geraldo Alckmin of the Social Democracy Party, and Henrique Meirelles of the Democratic Movement Party.
Photo Credit: Lula Marques/ Agência PT, André Luiz D Takahashi, and Wilson Dias / Agência Brasil
Related Categories: Advocacy, Brazil, elections, Public Affairs

The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – has published guidance to help Anglicans in the country prepare for next month’s presidential election. The material has been published “to support reflection at this election time to help people to discern the words and attitudes of people who present themselves as candidates for the various levels of government,” the Church said, adding that it was also “a contribution” by the Church “to better equip Christian people in political participation that builds an authentic democracy, in which political participation is an instrument of service that promotes deliverance.”

The guidance covers a number of different areas, including introductory topics on political participation and the Gospel, and its interface with the Church’s constitution and the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission. It goes on to address political issues such as inequalities, violence, corruption, and Christian responsibility in political life.

The guidance suggests that Anglicans listen to the proposals presented by the candidates and “separate those that do not correspond to some or all of these principles”. It doesn’t tell people how to votes but suggests that people ask which candidates’ policies offers the most proposals that “correspond to all or most of these principles.”

The elections on 7 October will be the first in the country since President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party was impeached. Rousseff was first elected in 2010, and re-elected in 2014, with just over 51 per cent of the vote. But she was suspended by the Senate in May 2016 ahead of her impeachment in August that year, on charges of breaking budgetary rules. Vice President Michael Temer of the Democratic Movement Party assumed the Presidency. The move was opposed by the then-Anglican Primate of Brazil, Bishop Francisco De Assis Da Silva .

Earlier this month, one of the 13 presidential candidates, Jair Bolsonaro of the far-right Social Liberal Party was stabbed while campaigning in the Minas Gerais state city of Juiz de Fora. The attack was condemned across the political spectrum. The Workers’ Party is once again contesting the election, with candidate Fernando Haddad. In 2014, the party achieved 51.64 per cent of the vote in the run-off, against 48.36 per cent achieved by the Social Democrat Party’s Aécio Neves. The Democratic Movement Party. President Temer is not contesting the election. His Democratic Movement Party’s candidate is Henrique Meirelles.

If none of the 13 candidates achieve at least 50 per cent in the first round of voting on 7 October, the two candidates with the highest votes will take part in a run-off poll on 28 October. In addition to electing Brazil’s 38th President, the electorate will also elect the National Congress, state and Federal District Governors and Vice Governors, state Legislative Assemblies and Federal District Legislative Chamber.