Election campaign in Brazil: On the home stretch

President Bolsonaro’s challenger Lula has secured prominent support in the Brazilian election campaign. He is currently ahead.


Presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on September 24 in Sao Paulo Photo: Amanda Perobelli/Reuters

São PAULO taz | There are only two sides to Patricia Navarro: good and bad. “Bolsonaro stands for good, Lula for evil.” Navarro – 50 years old, short gray hair, camouflage shirt – is on the Avenida Paulista, São Paulo’s boulevard, handing out flyers. Navarro has been promoting the ultra-right president for weeks Jair Bolsonaro.

He wants to be re-elected on October 2, but is clearly behind the ex-president in all polls Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent in the first round, there will be a run-off election on October 30th.

Many Bolsonaro supporters distrust the polls, including Navarro. “It’s all fake,” she says curtly. When a group of police officers walk past her, Navarro interrupts the interview and salutes with a serious expression. Many right-wingers regard the police, who are notorious for violence, as heroes, and many police officers are close to Bolsonaro.

The president has been spreading lies about the electoral system for months – even though it only passed a security test in October with no problems. Many fear that Bolsonaro, like Donald Trump, will doubt results becomes. At an event in the town of Campinas, he shouted to a cheering crowd that he would win in the first round of voting.

Lula forges a broad alliance

Bolsonaro’s great adversary Lula also confidently announced that he was aiming for an election victory in the first round. And it’s actually not that unlikely anymore: in the last few days, the former trade unionist has increased significantly.

Renowned for his charisma and negotiating skills, Lula has forged a broad alliance to return to power in Latin America’s largest country. His deputy is the conservative ex-governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin. Most recently, ex-Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles also pledged his support to Lula.

While the financial markets reacted happily to the closing of ranks, the alarm bells were ringing on the left. Fears are high that Lula’s term in office could be characterized by orthodox fiscal policies. But too much internal criticism is held back during the election campaign.

Lula recently secured more celebrity support. The prominent environmentalist and former minister Marina Silva explained her alliance with Lula. “Bolsonaro will leave a legacy of destruction,” says Silva of the taz. “More than 40,000 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest were destroyed during his tenure.”

Corruption, crisis and unemployment

In addition to his environmental policy, Bolsonaro has also been criticized for other things. Two journalists from the online medium UOL recently revealed that the Bolsonaro family allegedly paid for 51 of their 107 properties in cash. The president, who likes to portray himself as a fighter against corruption and nepotism, is now being accused of money laundering.

The severe economic crisis and growing poverty are also becoming more and more of a problem for Bolsonaro. Inflation is high, energy prices are rising and unemployment is climbing to new highs. 31 million Brazilians are now starving – 15 percent of the population.

“Bolsonaro will leave behind a Brazil of misery and hunger,” says Symmy Larrat of the taz. The 44-year-old is one of numerous trans candidates. Larrat wants to move into the federal parliament for the workers’ party PT and, as a first measure, want to reverse a neoliberal debt brake.

But the politician admits that it won’t be easy. Because the left will probably not have a majority in parliament. But now it has to be a matter of deselecting Bolsonaro. Then you can see further.

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