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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Bolsonaro colludes against elections before Lula’s promotion

With his usual combination of charisma, persuasiveness and pragmatism, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva moving forward steadily ahead of the Brazilian presidential election in October. The progressive exmandatario officially presented his candidacy along with the conservative. Gerald Alkmin, in an attempt to win over moderate voters to remove far-right Jair Bolsonaro from the Planalto Palace. While Lula leads all polls and popular discontent grows over the economic crisis, the Brazilian president remains determined, with the support of part of the military, to question the electoral system. Given the anti-democratic maneuverings of the former army captain, the Brazilian election campaign is looking at the question: Will Bolsonaro accept defeat in the elections?

If four years ago the election campaign revolved around corruption, this time, after a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 600,000 people and hit the pockets of millions of Brazilians hard, an economic crisis will be on the agenda. Bolsonaro’s governance has been disastrous, and the burden has alienated him from many of those who voted for him four years ago. Inflation is going through the roof (12%), economic growth is lower than expected (growth of 1% of GDP is expected this year) and there is 12 million unemployed (11.6%). To try to counteract popular discontent, the government launched the Auxilio Brasil program, a subsidy for families most in need, which attempts to replicate Lula’s successful Bolsa Familia program. The social integration measures implemented during the ex-trade unionist’s mandate (2002-2010) lifted some 30 million people out of poverty.

At 76 years old Lula has victory in his hand. Although Bolsonaro has closed the gap since the end of last year, Lula continues to lead in all polls, both in the first and second rounds. The most recent, published on Wednesday by consulting firm Quaest, gives the former metallurgist 46% support, compared to Bolsonaro’s 29%. Datafolha also showed a 17 point difference (43%-26%) in their latest survey, while MDA cuts the gap in half (40%-32%).

As political scientist Marcos Coimbra recalls in an article published in Carta Capital magazine, since 1989, all presidential candidates who were in the lead in the polls six months before the election won in the first or second round. It happened that year to Fernando Collor de Mello, and it happened again to Fernando Enrique Cardoso in 1994 and 1998, to Lula in 2002 and 2006, and to Dilma Rousseff in 2010 and 2014. There is only one exception: Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018. Six months before the vote, another candidate was leading the polls: Lula da Silva. The leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) was unable to stand for election at the time. be convicted of corruption. After spending 580 days in prison, in March 2021, the Supreme Court invalidated the actions of Judge Sergio Moro (whom Bolsonaro will appoint as Minister of Justice), and Lula was exonerated. The conviction against a progressive leader is an example of how the so-called lawfare is affecting politics in some Latin American countries. Earlier, in 2016, Rousseff was ousted from power in yet another “soft coup”: parliamentary impeachment.

Four years ago, the economic elite and the mainstream media backed Bolsonaro unconditionally. Many middle and lower class Brazilians believed his talk of democratic resurgence and sincerely believed the fake news spread by WhatsApp against PT leaders. The end of this story is known. brazil today a country devastated by far-right politics a president also cornered by corruption scandals.

Electoral and political pragmatism

Choice Alcmine as a vice presidential candidate, this is Lula’s declaration of principles. The former governor of São Paulo, one of the founders of the center-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSD), was Lula’s rival in the 2006 presidential election. He later abandoned his formation, which had weakened greatly in recent years. His signing is a powerful asset for Lula, allowing him to capture votes in the fishing grounds of the centre-right middle class (always suspicious of the PT) and, at the same time, win the trust of the markets with a fellow traveler who is valued by the government. financial institution.

This is not the first time the PT has promoted alliances with the centre-right. Alcmine promised institutional loyalty, something that Michel Temer, the right-wing vice president who betrayed Dilma and joined the parliamentary conspiracy remove her and stay in power for a couple of years without popular support. The PT has also demanded unnatural conventions in Congress, where small parties with no specific ideology (so-called Centrão) eventually become necessary to carry out the legislative agenda.

Formula Lula Alkmin it is, above all, a safeguard against the neo-fascist threat in Brazil. Thus, the election is completely polarized (the other candidates do not reach double digits in the polls, and the former judge Moro withdrew his candidacy) between the totalitarianism that Bolsonaro represents and the desire to preserve the democratic principles that Lula defends.

coup threat

Faced with possible electoral defeat, Bolsonaro (67) is already figuring out how to challenge the polls. On September 7, Brazil’s Independence Day, he mobilized his supporters (among them the feared paramilitary forces spreading terror in the favelas) in a kind of involutionary dress rehearsal. His admiration for the swordsmen who staged a coup d’état in 1964 and established two decades of dictatorship is well known. is now promoting involvement of the armed forces in control of votes in October outside the High Electoral Court. The weight of the armed forces in Bolsonaro’s government is enormous. The far-right leader opened the doors of the Administration to more than 6,000 soldiers under his commander-in-chief.

Bolsonaro’s strategy will be similar to the one he developed Donald Trump before Joe Biden: condemnation alleged electoral fraud. The former captain has already filed charges against the electronic voting operating in the Brazilian electoral system. The threat of a coup is not a fantasy or propaganda weapon of Lula’s campaign. Bolsonaro was a low-ranking MP in Congress for nearly three decades who repeatedly campaigned for a military coup. If Lula clearly wins on October 2 and avoids a second round, Bolsonaro’s chances of impeachment will be weakened. On the contrary, the scenario of Lula’s hard-fought victory in the second round (October 30) would give the President the wings to challenge violent mobilization of his followers under the false argument of fraud.

Organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) have already sounded the alarm: “Sowing unfounded doubts in the electoral system and suggest an alternative scoring system what will be under his control, President Bolsonaro appears to be laying the groundwork to challenge the will of the voters if he is not re-elected, or even try to cancel the vote,” Maria Laura Canineu, director of the HRW bureau in Haiti, Brazil said in a statement . The October elections will be the most decisive for Brazilians since the return of democracy in the 1980s. right choice“.


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