Elections are held today in Brazil. 156 million Brazilian citizens are called to presidential, political and administrative elections.
All the members of the Chamber of Deputies (513), one third of the seats of the senators (81), and all the posts of governors and of the 27 regional assemblies of the vast federal country will be renewed.
The governmental bodies of the individual states enjoy a wide decision-making autonomy with prerogatives ranging from choices with respect to education, health care up to the management of public order.
Except for the presidential elections, uncertainty is the number of those who go to the polls: on 23 September the news site Congreso em Foco reported that one in two voters were undecided as to who to vote for.
As for the governors, the most significant election is undoubtedly that of the State of Sao Paulo, the richest in the Federation, which generates a third of the country’s GDP.
A fierce competition between the PT candidate and former presidential candidate, Fernando Haddad, and Tarcisio de Freitas, former minister of infrastructure of Jair Bolsonaro, coming from the far right, joined by Rodrigo Garcia of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, a formation that it is placed on the right.
Despite the advantage of the PT candidate, a tight ballot is envisaged as the state of Sao Paulo concentrates a large part of the Brazilian conservative elite who profoundly rejects the PT and the left.
In two other large states of Brazil (Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro), candidates close to Bolsonaro are given for winners, while the coalition led by the PT seems to be able to triumph in the rest of the states.
Marco Antonio Carvalho, researcher of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, predicts: “19 governors in favor of Lula, and 8 of Bolsonaro“.
But above all the Brazilians are called to decide who will be the future president.
On the one hand, supported by a center-left coalition made up of 9 parties (in addition to the PT there are PSB, PCoB, PV, rede, PSOL, Avanti, Agir, Prosò and SDD), there is Luiz Incacio Lula da Silva, for twice at the head of the Latin American country (2003-2011), on the other the outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro.
According to the latest poll by the Datafolha institute, Lula would get 50% of the votes, while his far-right challenger 36%.
Ciro Gomez (PDT), and Sigme Tebet (Brazilian Democratic Movement) – the first of the center-left and the second of the center-right -, are given respectively within a range that goes from 6 to 4%, and from 0 to 1 %.
In general, the bipolar logic has monopolized the current presidential election campaign without any of the 9 candidates, except Gomez, becoming significant.
The latter, once close to Lula, led a disparaging campaign against the PT leader, he had obtained 12.47% of the votes in 2018, ranking third behind Bolsonaro and Haddad.
As he stated to “Le Monde“Political scientist Thomas Trauma:”no candidate was able to emerge. This is normal: they were caught in the pincer between two well-known and popular “giants”. The third way has not found a following, if not among the well-to-do elites of Rio and São Paulo“.
A sign, we add, of a profoundly polarized country where tertium non datur.
In the last three-hour televised duel at GLOBO in which 7 of the 11 challengers competing participated, followed by tens of millions of spectators, both contenders used the sword and not the foil: Lula accused Bolsonaro of lying, because this the last one had given him to the other of the corrupt.
Among the voters more I decidedaccording to an Ipespe survey, 90% are those who will express their preference for Lula, who can therefore count on a base of convinced voters.
If the former metalworker – who unfairly spent 580 days in prison from 2018 to 2019 before overturning by the Supreme Court (due to a formal defect of the controversial corruption convictions of the “Petrobas scandal”) – if he gets 50% plus one of the votes, he would win in the first round.
Otherwise it would go to the ballot on October 30, with his challenger starting with a considerable disadvantage, but probably willing to do anything to overturn the result and remove his possible legal troubles.
The former trade unionist and charismatic figure of the PT led a relatively colorless centrist and “centralizing” campaign that was able to rely on the evident disasters of the Bolsonaro management, and on the achievements of the years of his presidency, as well as on the approval of important international actors , including “the markets”, as recently recalled by the Sole24Ore, who see in Lula a stabilizing factor, unlike his challenger.
Bolsonaro, who still has a compact social bloc behind him made up of the powerful evangelical churches, agro-business and high-ranking army hierarchies – the so-called three Bs (“BBB“) -, he tried to” tone down “the tones of his speech trying to be credited as a conservative politician, without having particular success both in his homeland and elsewhere.
In addition to this it has tried to promote a series of measures to alleviate the devastating crisis that is hitting the country, by raising minimal social benefits, promoting subsidies for expensive energy, lowering taxes, forcing the oil giant Petrobas to revise downwards. their own tariffs, with the price of gasoline just below the euro in mid-September.
Despite this combination, 52% of Brazilians, again according to a survey conducted by Datafolha, will never vote for Bolsonaro, while Lula has received the support of 9 former Brazilian presidents from different political comrades and the assurance that Washington will accept the outcome of the ballot boxes.
The White House “closely follows” the Brazilian election, and the Senate has passed a resolution, proposed by Bernie Sanders, appealing to respect for the democratic process.
But on this we obviously reserve the benefit of the doubt, even if it weighs heavily on Washington the fact that Bolsonaro’s Brazil has not substantially aligned itself with the anti-Russian crusade in Ukraine.
In this situation it seems extremely difficult that 15% of the undecided will be conquered by the outgoing president.
Claudio Couto, of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, states in the Spanish newspaper “El País”, referring to the support of the popular classes for Lula: «The support of the poor derives from the social policies of the Lula period, which were more positive for these sectors of the population. The poorest had access to housing, electricity, education and social aid in cash. This brought a very positive memory“. And goes on “there is a social perception that during the PT government there was a decline in social inequality thanks to the rise of the poor“.
The disasters of Bolsonaro are manifold and have pushed even those who had previously distanced themselves from Lula, so to speak “breaking to the left”, to give him support.
Among this, the most striking example is that of Marina Silva, emblematic minister of the environment during the first Lula presidency (2003-2008), who broke with him precisely on the issue of environmental protection – which she judged, not wrongly, insufficient. – and had appeared three times in the presidential elections, representing a sort of “third way”.
“Bolsonaro can be considered a criminal“Said Silva, “is guilty of a dramatic devastation of nature, of unprecedented attacks on indigenous peoples, but also of the destruction of our democratic institutions, of our social fabric, not to mention the millions of poor and hundreds of thousands of victims of the Covid-19 crisis“.
686,000 deaths from Covid – the country that has paid the most of all, after the United States -, 15% unemployment, 15% of the population suffering from hunger, runaway inflation that affects basic necessities – plus 13% yoy in August – were some of the most negative aspects of Bolsonaro’s management.
In fact, despite the enthusiastic tones of the economy minister Paul Guedes – a “Chicago boy” trained in the best monetarist and neo-liberal schools in the United States – about the latest performances in the country (this is a trivial and transitory “rebound”), Brazil has been in deep crisis since 2013. The country’s GDP is comparable to that of Italy, although it has 4 times the inhabitants of our country.
As he writes “Mediapart“In a recent analysis of Bolsonaro’s economic policy:”The latter had an extremely violent pension reform adopted in October 2019 that included around $ 20 billion in cuts for ten years. The Constitution was changed to structurally reduce state spending, some $ 23 billion of public assets were privatized and a new wave of deregulation was imposed. The government has at the same time used the pretext of the Coronavirus crisis to reduce workers’ rights“.
In short, the handbook of neo-liberal politics coupled with the authoritarian torsion that led the country to collapse, especially considering that the economy is based on exports to China and the USA, in a period of strong global economic contraction, could prove to be deleterious.
A victory for Lula, in the first round or in the ballot, would take place in a context in which a various progressive coalitions have won the elections and govern – not without difficulty – their respective countries in Latin America. And, not a secondary aspect, they are giving life to reborn or unprecedented forms of cooperation at various levels, which can make the continent more autonomous from US hegemonic claims and from the neo-colonialism of the EU.
The one for Lula, and therefore for the coalition that supports him, also animated by forces on the left of the PT, is the only useful and necessary vote to make possible a change of course for the country, and for Latin America, even if they are not to exclude a priori “tail blows” of a vast block of power that made possible the victory of Bolsonaro and saw its interests promoted by the former para-fascist military.
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