On October 30th, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the secondary election in Brazil by a worryingly close margin: less than a percent. During the primary election, Lula da Silva held a 5% lead over current president Jair Messias Bolsonaro, but was unable to secure a 50% majority vote. During the weeks leading to the secondary election, Bolsonaro put his campaigning into overdrive. He told his supporters that they should not trust the ballots or the government workers, that the election was rigged against him, and that if he were to lose, they should protest the results and potentially even revolt if need be.
This shows a worrying resemblance to the January 6th incident, even more-so when you see that ~4/5 of Bolsonaro’s supporters show a willingness to engage in protest if the results were to be unfavorable. We can see their willingness in how they block the roads.
Bolsonaro however, has been notably silent after his loss to Da Silva and has asked his supporters to “avoid destroying property or ‘impeding the right to come and go’” as per Reuters. In stark contrast, much of Bolsonaro’s cabinet has been both willing and open about transition, potentially being the final dominoes needed for Bolsonaro to relent.
What does this election even mean though, what would each president’s election potentially mean for the future of Brazil? Bolsonaro, current member of the liberal party, previous member of Social Christian party, ran on a worrying platform. Protections for the Amazon and indigenous peoples were withdrawn, queer (specifically trans and gay) people were stripped of rights, reproductive freedoms were taken away, and he closed the gap between the Catholic church and the government. He planned to continue all of this during his next term. Da Silva who is a member of the workers party however, promised to guarantee human rights, further workers rights, and protect the Amazon. During Lula’s previous time in office, he dramatically decreased the level of Amazon deforestation, something that Bolsonaro has slowly been reversing.
Overall however, what does this mean for Brazil? Likely a lot of turmoil for the foreseeable future, especially if truckers keep blockading major cities or wings of the Army start listening to the cries of Bolsonaro’s supporters. However, I for once believe that things will end positively, and that a peaceful transition will ultimately occur, with Bolsonaro relinquishing control.