Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's popularity has taken a hammering with the country's power shortage. The government has ordered Brazilians to cut consumption by 20%. Power rationing is never popular, especially during the southern hemisphere winter. Incessant corruption scandals affecting members of his government coalition do not help either. Economists say Brazil's long-term fundamentals have worsened. They are expecting lower growth this year, higher inflation and interest rates, and further currency depreciation.
This only makes it harder a candidate from Cardoso's party to win the October 2002 election. A "spontaneous" poll (in which in
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