The Brazilian Presidential Election
The upcoming Brazilian Presidential election on the 28th October holds much importance for the largest country in Latin America. 146 million people are eligible to vote in the world’s 4th biggest democracy, and experts are heralding it as a pivotal election given Brazil’s recent political history. With the previous three sitting presidents of the major left-wing party, the Workers Party, being in alleged corruption scandals; it is not surprising that a recent survey by Latinobarómetro found that only 13% of Brazilians were satisfied with democracy. Incumbent and outgoing President Temer only has an approval rating of an astonishing 2%.
The corruption and democratic deficit Brazil has faced in recent years with the jailing of former President Lula, and the impeachment and subsequent removal from office of President Rousseff, many in Brazil are struggling economically; due to the rising inflation and costs coupled with stagnant wages. Brazil’s economy has been struggling in recent years with recessions and lower than expected growth - a feature of its economy.
In the first round of the election, 13 people stood but as Brazilian presidential elections go, if one did not reach 50% of the vote then there would be a second round; with the top two candidates from the first round running off against each other for the presidency. The two leading candidates as expected were: former Army captain and right wing leaning Jair Bolsonaro, and left winger Fernando Haddad.
The two leading runners for President are polar opposites and are running on very different policy platforms for Brazil. Hardliner Bolsonaro has been riled in controversy throughout his political career in the Brazilian congress. His comments regarding same-sex couples, black people and women are seen as very derogatory by many. He is campaigning on a tougher response to crime and policing; reducing the number of government ministries and privatising some state companies and loosening gun laws.
On the other hand, progressive left winger Fernando Haddad is campaigning on a platform of better jobs, social redistribution and crime prevention. Haddad has benefited dramatically from receiving the endorsement of former President Lula who is currently in jail for corruption. Many of the Lula supporters are now rallying behind Haddad, who is seen as fitting Lula’s mould but still very much himself.
Brazil is facing a critical juncture as it moves into the next decade – a divisive figure that of Bolsonaro, who could be embroiled in yet more corruption and misconduct scandals will set back the economic and social growth of Brazil. This has huge consequences on the lives of ordinary Brazilians, who after years of stagnant and slow growth, and little rise in their living conditions – need strong and stable leadership.