Tensions Leading to Brazil’s Election Day

Written by Ciara Perez – September 19, 2022

On October 2nd, the people of Brazil will cast their vote in the presidential election, with candidates including right-wing populist, Jair Bolsonaro, and leftist candidate, Luis Lula. Bolsonaro is the current President running for reelection, and his main rival is Lula, who governed the country from 2003-2010. If no candidate wins fifty percent, a second round of the election will take place on October 30th.

Back in 2018, Bolsonaro won the presidency against Lula after Lula was imprisoned for corruption charges. Now, Lula’s conviction has been annulled and Bolsonaro is facing the repercussions for his poor management of the pandemic, corruption charges against his administration, misogynistic remarks, and the country’s economic challenges. According to an IPEC poll published on September 5th, Lula polled ahead of Bolsonaro by fifteen percent, with 46% of voter support compared to Bolsonaro’s 31% support.

In the months leading to this election, Bolsonaro has acted to better conditions in Brazil. Paulina Villegas reports that energy prices have stabilized, the double-digit inflation rates have declined, and employment has grown. Additionally, Bolsonaro has begun handing out monthly cash stipends to poorer families in need and granted land titles to rural farm owners. However, many Brazilians see these efforts as a front for the election, and their feelings about the economic environment have not swayed.  

Bolsonaro’s efforts to sway voters didn’t stop there. He used Brazil’s Independence Day on September 7th to campaign for his reelection. As Constancia Laviola said, “this should be a day of pride, but some of the politicians are trying to kidnap our day, because this is the day of the nation, of the people, and not for a political campaign”. Lula expressed similar sentiments in a public statement.

Despite these efforts, recent polls show that Bolsonaro’s approval rate has remained constant while his disapproval rate is slowly increasing. Some believe that Bolsonaro is laying the groundwork to remain in power, as he has also frequently criticized the electronic voting system, despite no evidence that the machines are prone to fraud.

Updates to this story will be made after the October vote.

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