Elections in Brazil: Lula forced into a perilous second round against Bolsonaro

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva et Jair Bolsonaro prolongent leur duel pour la présidence du Brésil.

Posted Oct 3, 2022, 4:48 PMUpdated Oct 3, 2022, 5:13 PM

“Fifty-fifty”. This is the prognosis of Marcelo Giufrida, a Brazilian investor, the day after a first round of elections that kept Brazil in suspense. “The second round will be very tight. To date, nothing is certain, ”echoes a French boss who already predicted, before the first round, a better performance from the far-right candidate.

In fact, Lula did not succeed in his bet. That of stealing the presidency from the leader of the Brazilian far right in the first round, as some polls suggested. He certainly did not go far: he missed 1.57% to win an absolute majority, to the chagrin of his supporters.

The leader of the Brazilian left made a good heart against bad luck: “It’s just an extension. I can tell you that we are going to win this election,” he told his supporters just after the announcement of the results.

This extension still looks dangerous. Firstly because Jair Bolsonaro has made the opinion polls lie, which gave his challenger a lead of more than 10 points. He did not hesitate to settle his accounts with the polling institutes which had been largely unfavorable to him in recent weeks.

He even made part of the race in the lead during a suspenseful election night. The partial vote count placed him in first place until 9 p.m. local time. Then as the votes of the regions favorable to Lula were taken into account, the gap narrowed, and the left-wing candidate finally obtained a five-point lead over the outgoing president.

A conservative wave

Jair Bolsonaro’s score would reflect, according to some observers, the thrust of a conservative wave and adherence to traditional moral values, like those defended by a large part of the electorate of evangelical faith.

“There is indeed a conservative wave in the world, and Brazil is part of it”, notes the prosecutor and columnist Roberto Livianu. Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-corruption arguments also hit home with a large part of the electorate, especially in São Paulo.

Lula, however, seems to remain in pole position. “There is clear potential for voice transfer from [la candidate centriste] Simone Tebet, who is on the verge of announcing her support for Lula, ”said Roberto Livianu. This came in third place, with only 4% of the vote. But that would be enough for Lula to win a third term. There remains the other left-wing candidate, Ciro Gomes, who could also silence his criticisms of Lula in the face of the “Bolsonarist danger”.

Still, the outgoing president still has a few cards to play during the four weeks that separate him from the second round. “The voter will realize that inflation is down, that unemployment is down, and the poorest will receive new social assistance from the government”, explains Marcelo Giufrida. So many concrete factors that could work in his favor, while riding the conservative wave of the first round.


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