Brazil: Presidential Race Goes To Bolsonaro-Lula Runoff

Photo: cnn

The Facts

  • Brazil's Electoral Superior Court announced on Sunday that Pres. Jair Bolsonaro and former Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will compete in a second-round run-off, on Oct. 30, after no candidate won over 50% of the vote in the presidential election.

  • With over 99% of electronic votes counted, left-wing Lula da Silva is leading with 48.4% of the vote against 43.2% for the right-wing incumbent Bolsonaro. More than 123M Brazilians turned out to vote on Sunday with 32M abstaining.

The Spin

Left narrative

Bolsonaro has overseen an abysmal response to COVID, severe economic mismanagement, accelerated deforestation of the Amazon, soaring inflation, rising poverty rates, and a surge in membership of neo-Nazi groups. His administration has represented little more than a full-on assault on public services and the environment in favor of capital. While Lula is running more to the center than as a left-leaning progressive, his popularity shows that Brazil is ready to move on.

Right narrative

Lula’s corruption conviction was overturned by a Supreme Federal Tribunal, which consists of ministers appointed either by Lula or his successors Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer. While the mainstream media claims that Bolsonaro threatens democracy and the environment, during Lula's two terms as president Brazil deepened ties with authoritarian states such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela.

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 have historically been able to control presidents.

Nerd narrative

There's a 19% chance that Jair Bolsonaro will be president of Brazil on January 2, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Political split



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