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THE WEEK AHEAD

BRASILIA : The Last Emperor?

April 20, 1993

More than a century after they bade Dom Pedro II, Brazil's last emperor, goodby, Brazilians on Wednesday have a chance to resurrect the monarchy in a historic referendum on the form of government they prefer.

The monarchists are given little chance, though they do hold a surprising 13% in the polls. Republicans have a four-to-one edge in the same polls, with those favoring a strong presidential system, such as exists today, enjoying a healthy advantage over those who favor turning over the reins of government to the Parliament.

Meanwhile, many Brazilians don't seem to care one way or another. Some 52% see no reason for the plebiscite and a record 30% of voters are expected to simply not show up. Brazilians fear that the current campaign will only further delay much-needed repair of the country's economy, which is beset by knee-buckling debt, budget deficits and a 26% monthly inflation rate.

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