No Quick Win: Brazil’s Bolsonaro Forces Runoff With Lula in Brazil Presidential Election

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/04/2023

Neither of the leading contenders in Brazil’s crowded presidential race, right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro or leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, prevailed in the first round of voting on Sunday. In the runoff, Mr. da Silva, the leader of the Workers’ Party, will face Mr. Bolsonaro, a rule-slashing firebrand who has been compared to Donald Trump in Brazil.

There were nine other contenders, but their support was insignificant in comparison to that of Mr. Bolsonaro and Mr. da Silva. The election commission said that Mr. da Silva had 48.1% of the vote, beating Mr. Bolsonaro’s 43.5% with 98.8% of the ballots counted. In Brazil, the victor must receive more than 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff between the two front-runners.

Data from surveys conducted by the Brazilian company Datafolha on Saturday indicated that Mr. da Silva had a significant lead. By comparison, 36% of respondents indicated a preference for Mr. Bolsonaro, according to the pollsters, while 50% of respondents said they would vote for the previous president.

Most people agree that this election is the most crucial in recent memory. Brazil, which has been plagued by soaring gasoline prices and an economic recession, is at a critical juncture.

According to some observers, Mr. da Silva wouldn’t be able to reach the 50% threshold necessary to avoid facing Mr. Bolsonaro in a runoff election on October 30.

Brazilian political journalist Jose Roberto de Toledo told The Guardian that he believes a second round is more likely. “The second round, if there is one, will be considerably worse than the first. Four weeks of blood would be required. I hope I’m mistaken.

Brazilians were assured by Mr. Bolsonaro that he would increase employment through the reduction of regulations, taxation, and investment in technology. His administration’s reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil and for the severe destruction of the Amazon rainforest have drawn scathing criticism for him.

Mr. Bolsonaro declared that if re-elected, he will keep privatizing public firms and expanding the mining industry. He said that Brazil has the same right to utilise its natural resources as any other nation. Additionally, he pledged to keep paying Brazilians $110 monthly cheques for pandemic help.

Former union leader Mr. da Silva served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. It was a period of comparatively strong economic growth. He was imprisoned as part of a thorough corruption probe, but his sentence was overturned, allowing him to run for office again.

Mr. da Silva pledged to reinstate environmental restrictions that Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration had loosened, increase taxes on the affluent, and implement substantial social programs.

Mr. Bolsonaro has positioned himself as an opponent of political correctness and other liberal ideologies and a protector of traditional family values and individual liberty. Despite the challenging economic climate, Rio de Janeiro resident Manuel Pintoadinho, a metalworker, told NPR that he planned to vote for Mr. Bolsonaro.

Everything was wrecked by the epidemic. Inflation is very high, according to Mr. Pintoadinho. He is not to blame.

Oliver Stuenkel, a professor at Brazil’s Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Sao Paulo, said that holding elections for 150 million people across a nation the size of a continent on a single day is not an easy undertaking.

Mr. Stuenkel wrote on Twitter, “It is a big logistical task, and pulling it off so effortlessly should be a source of national pride.” He disregarded Mr. Bolsonaro’s concerns about the integrity of the vote. According to him, recent remarks might lead millions of people to doubt the outcome and the legitimacy of the next administration.

“A nation’s democracy’s quality is influenced by more than just its leadership. The opposition also has a role, according to Mr. Stuenkel. “A democratic opposition criticizes the administration constructively and demands accountability. However, it shouldn’t cast doubt on the authority of the government.

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