Brazilian Election Tilting Towards Socialism

Brazil’s presidential election is coming up in only one month; things are becoming very heated.

South America’s largest nation has dozens of political parties. The race has come down to two main candidates: socialist ex-convict Lula and current right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, Brazil’s current president, is a conservative populist who has grown his strength as he heads into the presidential election.

However, most polls show Bolsonaro is in big trouble. Can he still pull this off or will Brazil fall to the red dragon?

Bolsonaro’s Strategy

Bolsonaro’s strategy right now is to double down on his populist credentials and try to highlight his support for working people. In this sense, he is trying to compete with Lula to win the vote of the common people and the working class.

Bolsonaro’s government recently launched more aid for low-income families, post-pandemic checks, cooking gas assistance, as well as benefits for truckers and also taxi drivers.

In recent months, Bolsonaro has undertaken to lower the price of fuel and achieved this through oil tax cuts. Recently, the Brazilian economic situation improved with the decrease in inflation, job growth, and also the improvement in the energy rate.

However, all these improvements do not guarantee the re-election of Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s main opponent is a clever man with many connections in Brazil and around the world in left-leaning governments.

He has serious funding and a wealth of support, particularly in Brazil’s poorer north.

How Far Ahead is Lula?

Current polls indicate the current president is about 10 points behind Lula.

Journalist Thomas Traumann said Brazilian voters are somewhat suspicious of Bolsonaro’s recent moves. They are not responding in large enough numbers to turn the election at this point.

For voters, such feats are nothing more than maneuvers to win votes for the election; although the final result of this election remains to be seen.

The first round of voting takes place on October 2, with additional rounds of voting possible if the result is not conclusive.

Despite Lula gaining more and more momentum, he knows well enough not to sit back and call the game. Bolsonaro had a huge upset win in 2018 when nobody expected it at all, propelled forward by a groundswell of support.

Bolsonaro’s Big Win

In 2018, Bolsonaro also ran for president and had as his main leftist opponent Fernando Haddad. Haddad is a member of the same party as Lula, the PT (Worker’s Party).

The PT was tainted by scandals mainly linked to corruption. In 2018, Lula was arrested on corruption charges.

Various people linked to the former president, the PT, and not only in Brazil, but in Latin America, were discovered in a large network of corruption with a large Brazilian construction company.

The Brazilian population was highly frustrated and disappointed with all those who somehow had links with Lula and the PT.

This was an important factor that led Bolsonaro to occupy the position of President of Brazil, as well as solidarity with him after a left-wing extremist tried to stab him to death at a rally.

However, Bolsonaro’s response to COVID and some of his past statements are leading the nation to swing back to Lula. Critics say Bolsonaro didn’t do enough to stop COVID and let the economy get too inflated.

In the case the election is not defined in the first round, candidates will contest the second round on October 30.