The political violence of recent weeks could increase abstention and make it difficult for Lula da Silva to win in the first round
A total of 156.4 million Brazilians will decide this Sunday who will direct the destinies of Brazil in the next four years. The choice is between Jair Bolsonaro, ex-military leader of the right (Liberal Party) and current president, and Lula da Silva, ex-governor and leader of the left (Partido de los Trabajadores). The polls point to Lula as the great favorite, even to win in the first round, with an advantage of 14 points. However, the abstention, which could be affected by the fear that exists in the country given the political violence that has been experienced during the campaign, may influence citizens to have to vote again in a second round on October 29.
To achieve the presidency in the first round, the winner needs to obtain more than 50% of the valid votes, including blank and invalid votes. Lula’s victory would mean the shift that several Latin American countries have taken to the left. A few weeks ago it was Colombia with the election of Gustavo Petro, who followed Chile with Gabriel Boric, and before that it had been Peru with Professor Pedro Castillo.
In these elections, another nine candidacies have been validated, which are far removed from Bolsonaro and Lula. Ciro Gomes (PDT, Democratic Labor Party), who is running for the fourth time, and was governor of Ceará and former minister with two other governments; José María Eymael, Christian Democrat, deputy from São Paulo and the sixth time he has attended these elections; Felipe D’Avila, from the Novo party, an ultraliberal close to Bolsonaro; Leo Pericles, from the Popular Union, who is the only black candidate and has been outstanding in the indigenous struggle; Simone Tebet, from the Brazilian Democratic Movement, the first woman to lead the feminist movement; Sofía Manzano, another trade unionist belonging to the Communist Party; Soraya Thromicki, a former Bolsonarista who is now against her but defends ideas from the right; Vera Lucía Salgado, from the Socialist Workers Party, also a trade unionist and the only black woman in these elections; and Father Kelmon, from the Conservative Party and clearly designated as an auxiliary of Bolsonaro.
That Lula da Silva is in the ‘pole position’ is considered a true resurrection of the 76-year-old politician, a former turner, son of illiterate parents, who three years ago was serving a sentence in prison, in which he spent 580 days for accusations of corruption that were later proven false. The Federal Supreme Court ruled that the judge who tried his case was not impartial.
Before experiencing such injustice, Lula had 80% approval of his administration after two terms between 2003 and 2010. It seemed that it would be the end of his political career. But not. He is proving the opposite: “I was tried and today I am cleaner than him,” Lula reminded Bolsonaro in the first television debate and in which the current president always called him “ex-prisoner.” The memory of his years as president in which poverty fell and the country achieved great development may be influencing Lula’s possible return to power. He has the votes of the majority of women, blacks, indigenous people, the poorest, as well as the population of the Northeast.
Bolsonaro has promised that at the end of the year Brazil will regain its economic power and lower inflation, today at 8.8%. But against him he has that the country currently has 33 million people who do not have enough to eat daily, and especially its mismanagement during the Covid-19 pandemic in which 685,000 Brazilians died. Half of them blame the president for not giving due importance to the virus. His ideas, in which he defends the use of weapons, the death penalty, homophobia, misogyny, racism and anti-abortionism, are considered guilty of the setback that Brazil has experienced.
In these elections, vice presidents and governors of 27 states will also be elected, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will be partially renewed, as well as the legislative assemblies of each region. The elections are organized by the Electoral Justice, but the highest body is the Superior Electoral Court, which is chaired by Alexandre De Moraes, a man who is facing Bolsonaro for the doubts expressed about the entire process.
The campaigns of the two top candidates have been marked by violence and the fears that many Brazilians have that Jair Bolsonaro, like Donald Trump in the United States, will not accept the results in the event of a defeat and will try to continue as head of the Government. . In this country, one of the most populous in the world, there is a tension that, according to several analysts consulted by this means, had not been experienced in a long time. The candidates themselves have not been able to send strong messages of reassurance to their supporters, and instead, they have fueled the electoral fire with personal offenses and very serious accusations.
The last incident was recorded in Brasilia and was experienced by the car of Bolsonaro’s ex-wife, Ana Cristina Valle, a district deputy, who was stoned and her house painted with spray and red ink: ‘Death to Bolsonaro’ it read.
Voters are required to vote if they do not want to be fined
Unlike other elections, for the first time all of Brazil will have a unified time to vote between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The cities of different zones will have to adapt to the time of the capital. The results will begin to be known as of five in the afternoon (23.oo hours in Spain). A total of 577,125 teams of six different models of electronic ballot boxes are ready to receive voters.
Voting in Brazil is compulsory for citizens between the ages of 18 and 69, and optional for illiterate people, young people between 16 and 17 and people over 70. Whoever does not comply with their duty to vote or does not present a supporting document compatible with the legislation is subject to sanctions. Each unjustified absence at the polls generates a debt with the Electoral Justice and as long as the situation is not regularized – by paying the fine or obtaining an exemption from it – the voter is subject to a series of important restrictions.
Thus, you will not be able to receive salaries, remuneration, wages or benefits from public functions. You will also not be able to participate in public tenders. You will not be able to obtain loans from municipalities, federal and state savings banks, Social Security institutions and funds, or from any credit institution that is subsidized by the Government.
Collectors and hunters are prohibited from carrying weapons. It is not allowed to enter the voting booth with a mobile phone and each State decides whether to prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
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