While Brazil prepares to vote for the second round of presidential elections on October 28th, the political landscape there has been dramatically influenced over the past few years by vast anti-corruption investigations, which may well influence the vote itself as well as the future of the country's democracy. The so-called Lava Jato, or Car Wash, inquiry has reached the highest level of politics and business. Brazilian magistrates have long made explicit reference to similar anti-corruption efforts which started in Italy in the early nineties, with the Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) investigation. To help understand future developments in Brazil, it is therefore useful to look at what happened in Italy over the past three decades, and the impact this has had on politics and the economy.
Alessandro Merli is Associate Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe.
He is an economist and an award-winning journalist, currently a contributing writer for the Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, where he worked until the end of 2017 as Germany correspondent and ECB watcher. He was previously a columnist, financial editor and London correspondent for the same paper. He is also a contributing writer for the Brazilian business daily, Valor Economico.
In 2002, the President of Brazil awarded Merli the Order of the Southern Cross, the highest honor given to non-Brazilians, for his articles on the country. In 2009, he received a special award from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contribution to Italian-Latin American relations.
He is a graduate of the Università di Modena, holds a Master in Economics from the University of Illinois and was a visiting scholar at MIT.