Brazil Presidential Election: October 7th (First Round)

October 2, 2018

Brazil Presidential Election: October 7th (First Round)

Highest-polling candidates’ positions on economic issues and proposals on Intellectual Property, Science & Technology.

The president is elected to a four-year term by the absolute majority vote through a two-round system (or runoff voting). If no candidate reaches more than 50% of the valid votes in the first round, a second round of voting between the two candidates with the most votes will be held on October 28th.


Voting Intention*: 31% Rejection Rate*: 44%

Bolsonaro is a former military officer who entered politics in 1988, when he was elected to the Rio de Janeiro State Assembly. He has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1991, having served 7 consecutive terms. Bolsonaro is known for his far-right political views. He is the candidate of the Liberal Social Party (PSL), one of the smallest in the Brazilian political system, thus if elected he will need the support of other parties to form a coalition to be able to pass legislation in Congress. On September 6th Bolsonaro was stabbed in the stomach during a campaign rally, but the injury was not life-threatening. He was recently discharged from the hospital.


Foreign investment: Bolsonaro has criticized China’s acquisitions in Brazil.

Role of the state in the economy: The candidate currently defends free market economy although his voting record as a congressman reveals a protectionist bent. He was absent during the voting of a bill to regulate ride-hailing apps in Brazil but declared he was against the bill, which he considered unconstitutional. He rejected taxing this service.

Foreign trade: Bolsonaro proposes to cut tariffs and is in favor of trade agreements.


The candidate’s government program does not explicitly mention Intellectual Property (IP). However, during a talk at a prominent Brazilian financial company, General Hamilton Mourão, who is running alongside Bolsonaro, criticized how IP is dealt with in the country. He did not justify his statement nor did he put forth any idea on that issue. Their government program presents proposals on Science & Technology (S&T), such as:

  • Replicate S&T policies from successful experiences from developed countries such as Japan, Israel, South Korea and the United States.
  • Stimulate the teaching of entrepreneurship in universities and create technological hubs where researchers and university scientists are encouraged to seek partnerships with private companies to transform ideas into products.
  • Value national talents and attract others from abroad to generate new technologies, jobs and income.
  • Stimulate each subnational region to promote their comparative advantages.


Voting Intention*: 21% Rejection Rate*: 38%

Haddad is an academic who holds a law degree, a master's degree in Economics and a PhD in Philosophy. He was Mayor of Sao Paulo (Brazil’s largest city) from 2013 to 2017 and Minister of Education from 2005 to 2012. Fernando Haddad is a member of the center-left Worker's Party (PT), one of Brazil's largest political parties. His views largely correspond to his party's, which ruled the country from 2003 until 2016. Brazil's current President Michel Temer, who took office after the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff, was the Vice-President on the last ballot won by the Worker's Party.


Foreign investment: Haddad defends that foreign direct investments should follow the national reindustrialization strategy to be implemented.

Role of the state in the economy: The candidate calls for public infrastructure projects, a higher minimum wage, the increase of credit, structural reforms, and tax reform. As a mayor, he authorized regulations on ride-hailing services in Sao Paulo by which companies were charged US$ 0.25/km.

Foreign trade: Haddad defends the intensification of Latin America’s productive chains and negotiations through the World Trade Organization (WTO).


The candidate’s government program does not explicitly mention IP, but there are proposals on S&T, such as:

  • Re-create the Ministry of Science and Technology to raise S&T decision-making to the government’s highest levels.
  • Redirect resources from the Petroleum Sector Fund to the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FNDCT).
  • Recreate the National System of Science, Research and Innovation to connect government’s public policies to the expansion of knowledge in all areas of the productive system.
  • Create an investment block that integrates existing public financing sources and guarantees the expansion of research and development (R&D) and innovation infrastructure.
  • Establish technical cooperation projects and expand external trade associated with the increase in production chains by creating special lines of credit to support export financing, as well as using international resources, such as the BRICS Bank.
  • Implement a ten-year plan to increase national investments in S&T, aimed at both governmental and business sectors, in order to reach the level of 2% of the GDP in R&D investments in the country by 2030.


Voting Intention*: 11% Rejection Rate*: 18%

Ciro Gomes holds a law degree. He has occupied several prominent political offices. Gomes was Minister of Finance from 1994 to 1995 and Minister of National Integration from 2003 to 2006. Gomes also served two terms at the Ceará State Assembly, was Mayor of Fortaleza (Brazil’s fourth most populous city) and Governor of Ceará, where he also was Secretary of Health from 2013 to 2014. He was as a Congressman at the House of Representatives, from 2007 to 2011. Gomes was director of CSN, a steel-maker company, for two years until 2016 and ran its subsidiary, which is building a railway, Transnortedestina. He is a member of the Democratic Worker’s Party (PDT), a mid-size party in Congress. Gomes already ran for president in 2002. He is generally described as a center-left politician and his economic orientation is a developmentalist.


Foreign investment: Gomes welcomes foreign direct investment in Brazil that helps reduce the dependence on imports.

Role of the state in the economy: The candidate defends macroeconomic and fiscal balance to reduce the debt-GDP ratio. He considers the state should restore its investment capacity. Gomes appeared on a video criticizing ride-hailing service companies and contemplating taxing their profits at 2%.

Foreign trade: Gomes defends devising a trade strategy that prevents globalization from “destroying jobs”, set targets for exports of manufactured goods with credit grants to companies that reach a threshold, rationalize import taxes, sign trade agreements, and support Brazilian companies prospect clients abroad.


Proposals on IP:

  • Reduce bureaucracy and legal uncertainty over the joint production of intellectual property by universities together with companies and their commercial use.
  • Improve the BRPTO’s capacity to evaluate and grant patents, making it impossible for the judiciary branch to review its decisions.

(See Debate on Compulsory License During the Presidential Campaign below for Gomes’ comment on that issue)

Proposals on S&T:

  • Strengthen the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) along with its research institutions and stimulate the production of applied knowledge by companies and universities in partnership through the creation of research centers and the hiring of PhDs in companies.
  • Support the integration of the Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP) with the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) aimed at the financing of technology companies and create specific fostering mechanisms and investment funds to finance innovation and the diffusion of technologies.
  • Encourage the creation of incentives for the development of technology-based startups, with their incubation in universities and public institutions, and their association with organizations that can use their solutions, as well as facilitating the commercialization of products and services developed by them.


Voting Intention*: 8% Rejection Rate*: 19%

Geraldo Alckmin holds a medical degree and was Governor of Sao Paulo (Brazil’s most populous and wealthiest state) from 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2011 to 2018. He also served as a Congressman at the House of Representatives. Alckmin is candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), one of Brazil’s largest parties. He is considered as a pro-business politician and ran for president in the 2006 election.


Foreign investment: Alckmin considers foreign direct investments important to increase the economic productivity.

Role of the state in the economy: The candidate defends the privatization of state companies and the selling of state assets. He defends a tax reform aimed at spurring productivity. Under Alckmin’s administration, the State of Sao Paulo replaced 1,300 official vehicles for the use of ride-hailing services. Foreign trade: Alckmin proposes to open Brazil's economy to trade (goods & services), sign free trade agreements, join multilateral sectoral agreements, cut tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and adopt harmonized rules.


Proposals on IP:

  • Overhaul the IP legislation to reduce bureaucracy over patent granting in the country.
  • Establish the Brazilian Innovation System to promote modernization and efficiency in the country's patent registration system through the revitalization of the BRPTO.
  • Modernize the agencies tasked with technical regulation and product certification aiming at reducing the pendency of pending applications and guaranteeing the same treatment for both imported and local products.

Proposals on S&T:

  • Increase the government’s investments in R&D to at least 2% of the GDP (today’s investments are at about 1.2% of the GDP).
  • Devise a national program to disseminate research and knowledge in S&T and foster an innovation system, integrating universities, companies, investment funds and the government through the enactment of S&T legislation.
  • Modernize the legal framework for Science and Technology and review the IT Statute and the Statute # 11,196 of 2005, which created a special tax regime to stimulate research and the development of technology.
  • Consolidate the National Council of Science and Technology (CCT) to coordinate the different ministries involved with S&T policy.
  • Promote the development and the dissemination of research and technology in the following priority areas: precision agriculture, biotechnology, renewable energy sources, biofuels and climate changing, renewable raw material and biological processes, tropical diseases and arbovirus, customized medical treatment, digital government, sustainable cities, oil exploration and defense and air force equipment.
  • Promote the idea of cyber security as being critical to the diffusion of digital technologies, in accordance with the guidelines of the Cyber Defense Policy.


Voting Intention*: 24% Rejection Rate*: 25%

Marina Silva is an environmentalist who holds a bachelor’s degree in History. She ran for president in the 2010 and the 2014 elections. Silva was born in a rubber plantation in the state of Acre (one of Brazil’s least populous) and taught herself how to read and write. She was Minister of the Environment from 2003 to 2008. Along with other political figures, in 2013 Marina Silva was one of the founding members of Rede, a small party. She was elected to the Acre State Assembly and then to the Brazilian Senate. Silva’s platform includes environmental protections, generous social programs, and an orthodox economic policy.


Foreign investment:

Silva defends mechanisms to promote investments, which she considers important to compensate Brazil’s low savings and investment rates.

Role of the state in the economy: The candidate plans to overhaul state intervention and set new infrastructure projects in motion. Silva defends the involvement of the private sector. 3 members of her party in the House of Representatives voted in favor of regulating ride-hailing services in Brazil and 1 member voted against.

Foreign trade: Silva defends a gradual opening of the economy and the integration of the national economy with global value chains.


Even though Silva has pledged to grant a compulsory license over a patent covering a drug (see Debate on Compulsory License During the Presidential Campaign below for Silva’s comment on that issue), the candidate’s government program does not explicitly mention IP, but there are proposals on S&T, such as:

  • Re-create the Ministry of Science and Technology and provide it with substantial budget.
  • Over the next four years, implement the National Science, Technology & Innovation Strategy goal of increasing investments in research and innovation to 2% of the GDP.
  • Eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to the importation of equipment, materials, inputs and services used in research, development and innovation.
  • Improve the necessary mechanisms to absorb skilled foreign scientists interested in working in Brazil. • Stimulate university-business collaboration.
  • Reorient lines of credit from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) to finance innovation, microcredit and socio-environmental impact projects.


During the campaign, a debate on drug patents escalated as a final decision by the BRPTO on one of Gilead’s applications on sofosbuvir became imminent. Most of the Brazilian media published stories after the patent was granted on September 18th and the issue entered the realm of politics. Fifth highest-polling candidate Marina Silva tweeted that:

“The case of sofosbuvir, whose generic drug has already been synthesized by Fiocruz and authorized by Anvisa, is of public health interest. The government should immediately authorize the production of the generic. If it does not, I will break the patent.”

On September 20th, Senator José Serra, the Minister of Health when the 1999 Generic-Drug Law was enacted, said he was going to ask the Minister of Industry, to which the BRPTO is subordinated, to provide an explanation at a Senate commission about the granting of the patent.

On that same day, Silva and her running mate Eduardo Jorge filed a class action against the BRPTO in which they requested a preliminary injunction to stay the effects of the patent, or alternatively that the court declared that sofosbuvir was of public interest, thus allowing generic drugs to be produced and used.

On September 24th, the 21st District Court for the Federal District granted the preliminary injunction requested by Silva and Jorge, annulling the administrative act that granted Gilead’s patent and ordering the BRPTO to review its analysis considering the country’s social, technological, and economic interests.

Other candidates also expressed their opinion on the matter. After Marina Silva brought the issue in one of the televised debates, Ciro Gomes considered the BRPTO decision to allow the patent, which he attributed to the judiciary branch instead, “an aberration”. Guilherme Boulos, a lower-polling candidate and a member of the leftist Homeless Workers’ Movement, declared that the decision to allow the patent was absurd and called for “breaking the patent” as thousands of Brazilians.

*Source: IBOPE poll published on 10/01. Available at