Next Sunday the whole of Brazil plays one of the most important games in its history. It will not be for the world title in soccer, his favorite sport. No. It is a match for the future of Brazilians. And its democracy is also at stake, grow again or remain stuck. progress or delay. These are the presidential elections, and in them, this country that seems happy, but in which sadness has no end, as Vinicius de Moraes sang, almost everything is at stake. The top favorites to occupy the Planalto Palace are well known by the Brazilian people. The current president, Jair Messias Bolsonaro (67 years old), and the former president between 2003-2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (76 years old).
Four other candidates have entered the dispute but with few options to lead one of the largest countries in the world, one of the most populous (almost 214 million inhabitants), with one of the highest death rates from the COVID virus pandemic ( 685,428) and also affected (34.5 million confirmed cases), with an inflation of (8.8%), with an unemployment rate of 13.2%, in which it is considered that 33.1 million people they do not have to eat daily. And especially a country in which its citizens consider that there is great corruption.
Candidate again. Lula’s supporters carry him on their shoulders after his release from prison in 2018. /
Some analysts brand this call to the polls as the elections of fear. A fear that has multiple origins. First, because there is a weakening of institutional confidence, because the population distrusts the Supreme Court, also the Superior Electoral Court, and the electronic ballot boxes. “The suspicions are fueled to a great extent by the current presidency, which on more than one occasion has declared that if it does not win the elections, the evidence of fraud will be evident.
This institutional disbelief brings us to an area of concern. Depending on the result, especially if Lula is elected, it is certain that a part of the population, supported by President Bolsonaro, will not accept. Thus, we run the risk of repeating what happened in the United States regarding the rejection of the electoral result,” Juliana Bertholdi, a lawyer and professor of Human Rights at the PUCPR (Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná), in Curitiba, told this newspaper. .
Favela on the outskirts of the city of Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco. In Brazil there are more than 33 million solemnly poor. /
“The second fear is based on military interference in Brazilian democracy, also endorsed by the presidency. It is difficult to make accurate analyzes when we are characters in the story, but I view this interference with great fear. However, it is important to point out that the Brazilian courts and a large part of the media show special care in these elections when it comes to carrying out institutional strengthening and providing the greatest possible transparency to the electoral process”, adds Bertholdi.
The latest poll, conducted by the IPEC institute shortly after the only debate between the candidates, gives Lula da Silva as the winner in the first round with an advantage of 16 points (47%) to Bolsonaro’s 31%. In a possible second round, the victory of the former president would be by 54% and 35% of his rival. The television debate, which had a record audience, stood out for the passion and for the tension and personal accusations between the two main candidates, especially by Bolsonaro against Lula, whom he called “ex-convict” several times, and in which he also the current president attacked a journalist, of whom he said that it seemed that “you sleep thinking about me”, and “you are an embarrassment for Brazilian journalism”.
The only televised debate stood out for the passion, the tension, and the harsh accusations of Bolsonaro against Lula
Nothing new coming from the mouth of a politician, who was previously a military man, and who in most of his speeches embraces the defense of weapons, the death penalty, homophobia, misogyny, racism. Nothing strange in a Bolsonaro who, perhaps because his middle name is ‘Messias’, believes he is protected by the divine. And nothing unusual in a Head of State who attends the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London and delivers a speech from the balcony where the Brazilian ambassador resides, in which he spends two seconds offering condolences and two minutes continuing his campaign election, trying to reverse the results of the polls. There he repeats his favorite phrases: «We are a country that does not want to discuss the legalization of drugs, that does not want to discuss the legalization of abortion and a country that does not accept gender ideology», to finish off with his favorite slogan: « God, Country, Family and Liberty.
The 580 days in prison
The doubts about Lula do not lie precisely in that period in which he was persecuted and spent 580 days in prison, accused of corruption. During the television debate he had the opportunity to respond forcefully to Bolsonaro: «He knows the reasons why I was imprisoned. But with all this process that I have gone through, today I am cleaner than he or any other relative of his, because I was tried and was considered innocent. Paulo Sotero, former director of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute, told CNN, “Brazil is experiencing a tragic situation caused by us Brazilians, by the economic elites of our country, by the corruption that politicians cannot escape. Lula today may be giving the image of the past, of a tired man, and Brazil is a young country that needs renovation».
“The surveys allow us to draw some conclusions: women, blacks, indigenous people, the poorest, as well as the population of the Northeast, vote mostly for Lula,” says Juliana Bertholdi. “Bolsonaro has faced a lot of resistance from these populations and has not found the right discourse to attract these votes, especially from women. In the first debate, he was absolutely rude to a journalist, which resonated very badly with the women. In his speech at the UN, he used false data on the decrease in the number of femicides that had little repercussion at the national level. To try to reverse the situation, the first lady has assumed a very central role in the electoral campaign, seeking in particular the vote of evangelical women”, analyzes the lawyer.
Indigenous people stain a Brazilian flag red in a protest against deforestation in the Amazon. /
Other analysts believe that Bolsonaro’s voters are generally men, with higher levels of education, who use the economic slogan as the main justification for their vote, as well as conservatives, such as evangelicals, who are in favor of anti-Israeli agendas. LGBT and women’s reproductive rights. There are also those who have an insurmountable rejection of Lula for the situations faced in the Lava-Jato investigation, and that is why they vote for Bolsonaro. Recently, the polls also speak of a “useful vote” for both candidates, of moderate voters who seek a “third way” but who, due to their absolute rejection of their adversary, end up voting for Lula or Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro took advantage of the trip to London to the funeral of Elizabeth II to campaign from the balcony of the embassy
Lula, trade unionist, leader of the PT (Workers’ Party), bases his options on the country he left, where he advanced in the fight against hunger, and in a country that people today miss. “A country of employment, with the right to live with dignity, with its head held high.” Bolsonaro highlighted at the 77th UN Assembly the economic improvement of Brazil during his mandate and advanced that the country will reach the end of the year with an economy in full recovery, he said that it had reduced poverty and unemployment.
However, the challenges of the elected president are very great. At the international level, Brazil has lost part of its leading role and faces a lack of diplomatic credibility that it had not faced before in any government. It is a Brazil that, according to many analysts, has returned to the map of hunger, from which it emerged in 2014, that has seen the number of feminicides and homophobic/transphobic murders skyrocket, and that has deforested the Amazon like never before.
If Lula ends up being the most voted, the fear will be installed in the reaction of Bolsonaro, who for months already spoke of a possible fraud and very few do not rule out that he rejects the result and provokes a coup.
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