Elections in Brazil: a Parliament dominated by Bolsonaro’s allies

Le jeune député fédéral, élu dimanche, Nikolas Ferreira, et le président sortant Jair Bolsonaro, candidat à la réélection.

Posted Oct 3, 2022, 5:37 PM

The Sao Paulo Stock Exchange up 3%, the dollar down 3% against the real… The financial markets welcomed the results of Sunday’s elections. If it was only the first round of the presidential election, the die is cast for the Congress, elected by proportional representation. The Brazilian parliament will be dominated by allies of the outgoing president. Several governors close to Jair Bolsonaro also collected good scores in the main states of the federation.

Nikolas Ferreira’s smile spreads across all websites. With his yellow jersey of the Brazilian selection, this young elected bolsonarist of 26 years breaks all records. He collected one and a half million votes in the state of Minas Gerais, a level never before achieved by a federal deputy. He belongs to the PL, the liberal party of Jair Bolsonaro which won 99 seats in Congress, three times more than in the last legislative elections four years ago.

The parties of the so-called “grand center” coalition, which are in fact right-wing formations allied according to circumstances, should strengthen the Bolsonaro clan in Parliament. Two of them, the Progressive Party and Union Brazil, are planning to merge. “But in the event of Lula’s victory, I think that most of these right-wing deputies will end up supporting the government, in exchange for the usual counterparties”, estimates political scientist Claudio Couto, of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

The Bolsonarists also won the majority of the 27 seats at stake in the Senate. “It is in this room that the Bolsonarist core will be the strongest,” adds Claudio Couto.

A possible “cohabitation”

“The future Congress will be more conservative than the current one,” notes former minister Rubens Ricupero. The Bolsonaro wave notably allowed the election of controversial personalities, such as General Pazuello, who was Minister of Health during the pandemic, or the former Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles. “It will be more difficult to avoid further setbacks on environmental protection,” adds Rubens Ricupero.

While some welcome a possible “cohabitation” between a left-wing president, in the event of Lula’s victory in the second round, and a more right-wing Congress, Rubens Ricupero believes that “a possible Lula government will have greater difficulty in negotiate a compromise, especially on budgetary issues”.

In the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, the governors allied to Bolsonaro were re-elected in the first round. In Sao Paulo, former Infrastructure Minister Tarcísio de Freitas also edged out Lula’s candidate in the first round, and is entering the second-round campaign as a favourite.

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