World News Brief, Tuesday October 7

Brazil's most contested leadership race in decades not over yet; Hong Kong protester numbers dwindle; North Korean officials visit South Korea; Australia and Belgium conduct first anti-ISIS missions in Iraq; mass grave uncovered in Mexico; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Brazil's Rousseff to Face Neves in Runoff

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff emerged as the front-runner (NYT) in Sunday's presidential election but did not secure an overall majority. Having won 41.5 percent of the vote, she will face pro-business candidate Aécio Neves, who won 33.7 percent, in a runoff election on October 26. Brazil's politics have been largely dominated by the center and center-left parties, yet this election has been the most contested race (AP) since the 1980s. Environmentalist Marina Silva, who led the polls in September, finished third with 21 percent. Analysts say that run-off results are unpredictable and it is unsure how Silva's supporters will vote (FT) at the end of the month. The election comes as Brazil faces important economic questions with signs of slowing growth rates.


"Any ruling coalition will at best be only vaguely cohesive. The number of parties represented in Congress is set to grow from an already hefty 24 to as many as 28. Fragmentation will make it difficult to push through crucial but difficult reforms to boost Brazil's competitiveness and reignite sluggish growth. Some of these, including simplification of the notoriously complex tax code, require constitutional change. Securing the necessary two-thirds supermajority in the chamber will be a tall order," writes the Economist.

"The reality around Brazil's economic policy is that the government has listened to 'big finance' a bit too much, raising interest rates and cutting spending when the economy was too weak. Hopefully these mistakes will not be repeated. If Rousseff wins, it will be because the majority of Brazilians got a lot of what they voted for. They may want more, and they should—but they are unlikely to opt for a return to the past," writes Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian.

"No matter who wins, however, it is clear that Brazilian citizens are demanding far more of their leaders than anyone might have imagined just a few years ago—and politicians will have to adjust accordingly. Otherwise—and especially given the country's current economic slowdown—they are almost certain to face fresh turmoil ahead," write Gregory Michener and Carlos Pereira in Foreign Policy.


Protesters Remain as Civil Servants Return to Work

Over the weekend, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying announced that Hong Kong police would use "all means necessary" to restore order by Monday if mass demonstrations continued. As the student federation began talks with the Hong Kong government, the number of protesters dwindled (SCMP); still a few hundred remained in key protest locations, ignoring warnings of the use of force.

NORTH KOREA: North Korean officials made a ground-breaking visit (Yonhap) to South Korea for the conclusion of the Incheon Asian Games. The two parties agreed to new rounds of high-level inter-Korean talks in late October and November.


Australia and Belgium conduct first anti-ISIS missions in Iraq

Mass grave uncovered in Mexico