On Saturday, voting for Palmeiras’ Deliberative Council took place. The Council has 300 seats, of which 148 are for life. Of the remaining 152 seats, 76 were up for grabs. Voting began at 9am and ended at roughly 20:20.
The different options consisted of:
- PALESTRA – with prominent figures Clemente Pereira and Salvador Hugo Palaia;
- UVB – representing the traditional opposition to former Palmeiras president Mustafa Contursi;
- FORTE – supporters of Mustafa;
- ACADEMIA – representing the “new” opposition to Mustafa.
All in all, 3207 members – many of them being elderly people – came to vote at the Palestra stadium, spending hours in line at this totally inappropriate location (the stadium is nothing but a construction site, as the pictures below – all taken by Nilton Della Croce – will show) under a scorching sun. It’s hard to come up with alternative explanations to the one voiced by Verdazzo! and others: that the new administration deliberately tried to cause discomfort to the voters, blaming the previous administration for launching works on the new Arena and depriving members of their Club (until the new stadium is ready). Incredibly enough, the tactic seems to work, at least on selected segments.
The voting went down as follows: 1049 for PALESTRA (25 seats); 975 for UVB (23 seats); 1014 for FORTE (24 seats) and 165 for ACADEMIA (4 seats). Of the 76 elected counsellors, 40 were re-elected: 16 from the current administration, 14 “free” counsellors (who might tilt one way or the other) and 10 from the opposition. It’s when analysing the 36 newly elected that things get interesting. The current administration lost space to the opposition, who was strengthened with six seats.
The change in power can be traced back to various groups of supporters who have been making organised campaigns in order to elected new names – genuine supporters, people from the stands – to inject new blood into the political life of Palmeiras. “Change through the vote” is the order of the day. The group Fanfulla, running within the UVB frame, deserves a special mentioning: they elected no less than five counsellors who will join the three elected in 2009, thus comprising a bench of eight. Additional congratulations goes to the other new initiatives aiming and modernising and making Palmeiras more professional, democratic and transparent: União Verde e Branco, Chapa Academia, 3vv, Pro-Palmeiras, Famiglia Palestra and Verdes-Escuros.
In time, it is likely that this change in the council’s composition will allow the voting on a proposed statutory reform. No need to put that finger up in the air: the wind of change is already rattling the leaves of nearby trees.