Brazil embarks on a month of intense campaigning and uncertainties

Brazil embarks on a month of intense campaigning and uncertainties

Lula’s narrow victory in the first round of the presidential election over a better-than-expected result over Jair Bolsonaro on Monday opens a new four-week campaign period that promises to be fraught and fraught with uncertainty in Brazil.

• Also read: Lula in lead, Bolsonaro fights back, Brazil heading into second round

• Also read: Brazil elections: clash between returnee Lula and outgoing Bolsonaro

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, icon of the Brazilian left, won 48% of the vote, ahead of the outgoing far-right president, 43%, or around 6 million votes, according to the almost final official results.

The polls were badly wrong, promising Lula a 14-point lead in voting intentions (50% to 36%) and not ruling out a 1st heat win.

“I can tell you that we will win this election. It’s just an extension,” the old lion of Brazilian politics told his supporters late Sunday night, still visibly affected by the electoral disappointment.

Brazil embarks on a month of intense campaigning and uncertainties

Lula promised “more travel and other meetings” to meet Brazilians to win a third term on October 30 because “we have to convince Brazilian society.”

“Tomorrow I’ll start campaigning. If I had won the first round, I would have taken three days off and gone on my honeymoon,” said Lula, who married his third wife Janja in May.

The general elections organized in Brazil on Sunday were also a success for the Bolsonarists, many of whom were elected MPs or governors, especially former ministers of Jair Bolsonaro, especially in the Senate.

“We will see a radically polarized second round,” predicts Bruna Santos of the Brazilian Institute, while Brazil is already very divided after four years of Bolsonaro’s tenure.

For Paulo Calmon, political scientist from the University of Brasilia, “the race is becoming even more open and promises a heated argument”. For him, “Bolsonaro preserves all chances of re-election”.

Lula will also have to change his strategy after making the mistake before the first round of basing his campaign “only on the achievements of these two previous mandates” (2003-2010) and he has to “put forward projects for the future”. .

Brazil embarks on a month of intense campaigning and uncertainties

“The game for the second half of the season will be tough,” adds Marco Antonio Teixeira from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV): “There’s only a five-point difference” between Lula and Bolsonaro, “we’ll experience a very tense phase.”

Bolsonaro’s performance should “give him a boost,” says Michael Shifter, an analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue.

Brazil embarks on a month of intense campaigning and uncertainties

Lula’s relative setback gives him “an extra month to cause trouble in the streets,” said Guilherme Casaroes of the Getulio Vargas Foundation.

He also thinks “Lula’s chances of being elected are significantly weaker”.

“We cannot rule out that Bolsonaro mobilizes his base and encourages him to hunt down Lula supporters,” Mr Shifter said.

Between the two camps “there is a lot of resentment, hatred and it would not be surprising if this leads to unrest” while the campaign has already seen violence.

Lula supporters have often pointed out that they did not wear the red color of the Workers’ Party (PT) for fear of being attacked by Bolsonarists.

Arriving at places 3 and 4 in the presidential election, Simone Tebet (MDB from center right) with 4% and Ciro Gomes (PDT, center left) with 3% are very courted.

“The voters of Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes, about eight million people, will decide who will be the next president,” said Bruna Santos.

After all, the first ballot will have confirmed Jair Bolsonaro’s hatred of the polls, which placed him far behind Lula for weeks.

“We made the polls lie!” cheered the populist president on Sunday evening, who says he prefers to take Brazilians’ pulses on the street, at his big meetings or on walkabouts.

For Guilherme Casaroes of the FGV, “the opinion research institutes that have made contradictory forecasts for both the presidential and state elections must reinvent themselves”.