BBrazil faces another four weeks of heated campaigning. As expected, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received the most votes in the presidential election on Sunday. However, he did not manage to break the 50 percent mark for a win in the first ballot. Only around 48 percent of the votes went to President Jair Bolsonaro’s left-wing challenger. However, with 43.5 percent of the votes, this achieved a much better result than the polls had predicted.
Bolsonaro performed significantly better than forecast, especially in the two most popular states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Analysts attribute the discrepancy to the large number of “silent” Bolsonaro voters who don’t participate in polls or reveal their preferences in them.
Other candidates who ran in the election did not get over 5 percent. So there will be a runoff between the Lula and Bolsonaro at the end of October. Their outcome is more open than ever.
Lula is very popular with the poor
The first round of elections had resulted in a duel between Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva early on, with the latter leading the polls for over a year. Lula da Silva, who was imprisoned for corruption but was allowed to stand again after the trial against him was annulled, enjoys great popularity among the poor. Under his government between 2003 and 2010, millions of families were lifted out of poverty. The time was marked by a raw materials boom, which Lula da Silva had to draw from the full.
At the same time, the former union leader is benefiting from the rejection of the president, which is mainly due to the heavily criticized behavior during the pandemic and Bolsonaro’s sometimes aggressive character. This also includes the doubts raised by Bolsonaro about the electronic voting system, the electoral authorities and the reliability of the electronic ballot boxes. If he doesn’t win in the first ballot, something must be wrong with the electoral authorities, he said two weeks ago.
Anger at corruption under Lula
On the one hand, Bolsonaro’s good performance confirms the ongoing anger of many Brazilians at Lula da Silva and his Labor Party as a result of the corruption during her reign. A trend towards more conservative voting behavior by Brazilians can also be observed over the past few years, which can be attributed, among other things, to the advance of evangelical free churches, which represent very socially conservative values and also reach poorer sections of the population. Last but not least, the economic situation in Brazil has improved in recent months. Brazil’s economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter. The government has also managed to curb inflation. Business circles in particular trust the government’s liberal economic policy.
Lula remains the favorite for the runoff in four weeks. He is likely to receive the greater part of the votes of the eliminated third- and fourth-placed candidates. In addition, the voters’ rejection of him is less than that of Bolsonaro. Lula da Silva said after the election that he believed in victory and he continues to do so. Now it needs 30 days more campaign. He sees the direct encounter with Bolsonaro as an opportunity.
Bolsonaro as a moral winner
However, Bolsonaro emerges stronger from the election. Although he is behind Lula da Silva, he is considered the moral winner. Several of his candidates were also able to assert themselves in the gubernatorial elections and in the elections for the Senate. His “Liberal Party” (PL), which includes many of the leaders in his political environment, also achieved a very strong result in the parliamentary elections and will be the strongest group in the House of Representatives next year.
The presidential election Brazil is also of great importance for the rest of the world. As a huge carbon reservoir, the Amazon region plays an important role in the fight against global climate change. In view of the tense situation on the energy and food markets due to the Ukraine war, the country with its enormous natural resources and large agricultural economy is also an interesting trading partner.