2006 Brazilian general election

General elections were held in Brazil on 1 October 2006 to elect all seats in the Chamber of Deputies, one-third of the Federal Senate, and members of the Legislative Assemblies of the 26 states and the Federal District. As no candidate for president received over 50% of the vote, a second round run-off was held on 29 October between incumbent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his challenger, Geraldo Alckmin. A second round was also required in 10 states where no candidate for governor received a majority. Lula won the second round with over 60% of the valid votes and secured a new four-year term.[1]

2006 Brazilian general election

1 October 2006 (first round)
29 October 2006 (second round)
Presidential election
Candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Geraldo Alckmin
Popular vote 58,295,042 37,543,178
Percentage 60.83% 39.17%

President before election

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Elected President

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Legislative election


513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
13 (27 seats) of the Senate
Party Leader % Seats ±
Chamber of Deputies
PT Ricardo Berzoini 15.0 83 -8
PMDB Michel Temer 14.3 89 +15
PSDB Tasso Jereissati 13.6 65 -6
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 10.9 65 -19
PPB 7.1 42 -7
PSB Roberto Amaral 6.2 27 +5
PDT Carlos Lupi 5.2 24 +3
PTB Roberto Jefferson 4.7 22 -4
PL Valdemar Costa Neto 4.4 23 -3
PPS 3.9 21 +6
PV José Luiz Penna 3.6 13 +8
PCdoB 2.1 13 +1
PSC 1.9 9 +8
PSOL Heloísa Helena 1.2 3 New
PRONA Enéas Carneiro 1.0 2 -4
PMN 0.9 3 +2
PTC Daniel Tourinho 0.9 4 +4
PHS 0.5 2 +2
PTdoB Luis Tibé 0.3 1 +1
PAN 0.3 1 +1
PRB 0.3 1 New
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 25.7 18 -1
PT Ricardo Berzoini 19.2 10 -14
PSDB Tasso Jereissati 12.5 14 +3
PMDB Michel Temer 12.0 16 -3
PCdoB 7.5 2 +2
PDT Carlos Lupi 6.0 5 0
PPB 5.0 1 0
PTB Roberto Jefferson 3.2 4 +1
PSB Roberto Amaral 2.5 3 -1
PPS 1.5 1 0
PL Valdemar Costa Neto 0.8 3 0
PRTB Levy Fidelix 0.8 1 +1
PSOL Heloísa Helena 0.4 1 New
PRB 0.3 2 +2
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
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With its image tainted by the Mensalão scandal, the Workers' Party saw a slight decrease in its vote share for the first time and lost several states in southern Brazil. The main opposition parties, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Front Party also saw reduced vote shares. All other major parties, with the exception of the centre-right Progressive Party, increased their vote share.


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.

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.

For this election, the opposition emphasized the wear off of Lula because of the Mensalão scandal, that involved the bribing of parliament members by the ruling coalition, which had been widely reported on the mass media since mid-2005. This wear off, however, appealed only to middle-class voters.

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 system

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.

Presidential candidates

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva celebrating his electoral victory after the 2006 elections.

The presidential candidates for the 2006 general elections were:

# Presidential candidate Vice-Presidential candidate Party/coalition
12 Cristovam Buarque (PDT) Jefferson Péres (PDT)
Democratic Labor Party (PDT)
13 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) José Alencar (PRB)
"The Strength of the People"
17 Luciano Bivar (PSL) Américo de Souza (PSL)
Social Liberal Party (PSL)
27 José Maria Eymael (PSDC) José Paulo da Silva Neto
Social Democratic Christian Party (PSDC)
29 Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO) Pedro Paulo Pinheiro (PCO)
Workers' Cause Party (PCO)
44 Ana Maria Rangel (PRP) Delma Gama e Narcini (PRP)
Republican Progressive Party (PRP)
45 Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) José Jorge (PFL)
"For a Decent Brazil"
50 Heloísa Helena (PSOL) César Benjamin (PSOL)
"Left-Wing Front"


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 , 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.



Candidate Running mate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Luiz Inácio Lula da SilvaJosé AlencarPTPRB46,662,36548.6158,295,04260.83
Geraldo AlckminJosé JorgePSDBPFL39,968,36941.6437,543,17839.17
Heloísa HelenaCésar BenjaminSocialism and Liberty Party6,575,3936.85
Cristovam BuarqueJefferson PeresDemocratic Labor Party2,538,8442.64
Ana Maria RangelDelma Gama e NarciniRepublican Progressive Party126,4040.13
José Maria EymaelJosé Paulo da Silva NetoChristian Democracy63,2940.07
Luciano BivarAmérico de SouzaSocial Liberal Party62,0640.06
Rui Costa PimentaPedro Paulo PinheiroWorkers' Cause Party00.00
Invalid/blank votes8,823,7266,160,001
Registered voters/turnout125,913,13483.25125,912,93581.01
Source: TSE

National Congress

Party Chamber of Deputies Senate
Votes%Seats +/-Votes%Elected




Workers' Party13,989,85915.083 -816,222,15919.2210 -4
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party13,580,51714.689 +1510,148,02412.0416 -3
Brazilian Social Democratic Party12,691,04313.665 -610,547,77812.5514 +3
Liberal Front Party10,182,30810.965 -1921,653,81225.7618 -1
Progressive Party6,662,3097.142 -74,228,4315.011 -
Brazilian Socialist Party5,732,4646.227 +52,143,3552.513 -1
Democratic Labour Party4,854,0175.224 +35,023,0416.015 -
Brazilian Labour Party4,397,7434.722 -42,676,4693.234 +1
Liberal Party4,074,6184.423 -3696,5010.813 -
Socialist People's Party3,630,4623.921 +61,232,5711.511 -
Green Party3,368,5613.613 +81,425,7651.700 -
Communist Party of Brazil1,982,3232.113 +16,364,0197.512 +2
Social Christian Party1,747,8631.99 +8131,5480.200 -
Socialism and Liberty Party1,149,6191.23 New351,5270.4011 New
Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order907,4941.02 -469,6400.100 -
Party of National Mobilization875,6860.93 +212,9250.000 -
Christian Labour Party806,6620.94 +439,6900.000 -
Humanist Party of Solidarity435,3280.52 +224,9400.000 -
Christian Social Democratic Party354,2170.40 -153,0250.100 -
Labour Party of Brazil311,8330.31 +169,9230.100 -
Party of the Nation's Retirees264,6820.31 +12,9690.000 -
Brazilian Republican Party244,0590.31 +1264,1550.302 +2
Republican Progressive Party233,4970.30 -12,9540.000 -
Social Liberal Party190,7930.20 -146,5420.000 -
Brazilian Labour Renewal Party171,9080.20 -644,1110.811 -
National Labor Party149,8090.20 -11,0630.000 -
United Socialist Workers' Party101,3070.10 -196,6360.200 -
Brazilian Communist Party64,7660.10 -62,7560.100 -
Workers Cause Party29,0830.00 -27,4760.000 -
Invalid/blank votes11,593,921 -20,394,952 -
Total104,778,751100513 -104,778,7571008127 -
Registered voters/turnout125,827,11983.3 -125,827,11983.3 -
Source: Election Resources


The Governors elected in 2006 were the following: