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The Economist | Reform: Reality dawns

The Economist

Reform
Reality dawns
Slower growth and an assertive new middle class will force political change

A DEMOCRACY SHOULD get the politicians it deserves, and Brazilians who voted Paulo Maluf into Congress in 2006 and 2010 can hardly say they did not know what they were letting themselves in for. Allegations of overbilling and kickbacks when he was mayor of São Paulo in the 1990s had been circulating for years, though he was found guilty only last year—by a court in Jersey, in his absence. Mr Maluf is just one of many Brazilian politicians with grubby names: a third of congressmen face criminal allegations, mostly of vote-buying, bribery or embezzlement. Quite a few of those did well at the ballot-box.

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