ON OCTOBER 3, 1950, Getulio Vargas, former dictator of Brazil, was returned to the Presidency by a landslide vote of over 3,667,000 as against about 2,226,000 for Major General Eduardo Gomes and less than 1,666,000 for Cristiano Machado, his two nearest competitors. The election was an acid test of the functioning of representative government in the country which is our most important ally among the Latin republics of America.
A more confusing situation has seldom confronted an electorate. The voters of Brazil not only had to choose the president and vice-president of the republic, but the entire federal Chamber of Deputies, one-third of the Senate, the state governors and legislators, and even municipal mayors and aldermen. And although there were only three important candidates for the national presidency, at least ten parties were of sufficient consequence to warrant serious attention by the daily newspaper press.
While many Brazilians conceded the possibility of Vargas' election, his large majority over his two principal opponents came as a surprise. It has been accounted for in various ways: by difficult living conditions due to inflation which made the voters ready for a change; by Vargas' personal popularity; by the fact that the Social Democratic Party, supposed to be the official government party, had more Vargas men in it than those dedicated to Cristiano Machado; and that evidently many of the politicians who supported Dutra in 1945, naturally loath to surrender their political advantages, were ready to shift to Vargas or to any other combination that promised victory. A contributing factor was the way in which the Governor of São Paulo, Ademar de Barros, placed funds and organization behind the former dictator.
But the fact remains that this was a free election, pledged by the government of President Dutra, administered by impartial judicial tribunals, and supervised at the polls by the armed forces. Apparently about three-fourths of the registered voters turned out, and in general the voting was quiet and orderly. What little violence occurred stemmed from bitter local feuds. The
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