Brazil: Bolsonaro, Lula Exchange Barbs In First Debate

    Photo: AFP/Getty Images [via CNN]

    The Facts

    • On Sun., Brazil's Pres. Jair Bolsonaro and the country's former Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva traded accusations while taking part in a heated televised debate ahead of the country's general election.

    • While Pres. Bolsonaro deemed Lula's eight-year term "the most corrupt government in Brazil's history," the former Pres. claimed that Bolsonaro was "destroying the country."


    The Spin

    Left narrative

    Bolsonaro's disastrous term has changed the minds of the Brazilian voters who elected him in 2018. He has systemically threatened democracy by gathering support within the armed forces, attacking the Supreme Court, and baselessly claiming the election could be rigged. If he stays in office, not only would democracy be endangered, but so would the Amazon rainforest.

    Right narrative

    Lula used his political influence over Brazil's top court to have his convictions of corruption overturned and allow him to run for office again. While the mainstream media claims that Bolsonaro threatens democracy and the environment, it was during Lula's two terms that Brazil deepened ties with authoritarian states such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela, and fires in the Amazon hit all-time high rates.

    Cynical narrative

    Although the Brazilian electoral dispute between a vengeful left and a toxic right will be hyped as a turning point for the nation, whoever takes office will have to deal with the hyper-fragmented party system that only benefits the "Centrão", or the "Big Middle" – the congressional majority without clear principles that has historically been able to control presidents.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 28% chance that Jair Bolsonaro will be president of Brazil by Jan. 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Political split

    LEFT

    RIGHT

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