Lula prevails and will contest the second round against a

Lula prevails and will contest the second round against a reinforced Bolsonaro

Lula da Silva addresses his supporters following the results of Brazil's elections.Lula da Silva addresses his supporters following Brazil’s election results MARIANA GREIF (Portal)

The dream of the Brazilian left winning the first half was buried. The President, far-right Jair Bolsonaro, came out stronger than the polls had predicted. With a 99% count, former left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (76) got 48% of the vote, while his rival Bolsonaro (67) got 43%. Brazil held the most crucial and hard-fought elections in decades, after a long and bitter campaign punctuated by episodes of severe political violence, including the assassination of at least two Lula supporters by Bolsonarists. The Brazilians, who voted at the polls in 2018 to decide whether to turn left or deepen the shift to the right, are divided in half. None reached 50% plus one of the valid votes needed to condemn the election now; The duel between Lula and Bolsonaro will be decided within four Sundays. “We will win, it’s just an extension,” said the left with the result already decided.

A second-round victory would mean for Lula the culmination of the left turn that took place in Latin America in the last elections and the opportunity to rewrite the final chapters of his personal history, which have been overshadowed by his time in prison. although his convictions for corruption were overturned. Because of its role as a temperature regulator, it would also be vital to the future of the Amazon and the planet.

Bolsonaro has been criticizing polls for months, which repeatedly leave him 10 to 15 points behind Lula. His followers said he was underrated like in 2018, and he was. In the moment of truth, his real support was greater than predicted. His party, the Liberals (PL), will have the largest faction, and the Bolsonarists’ landing in the Senate was powerful. And the Bolsonaro-sponsored gubernatorial candidates in at least three states (Rio de Janeiro, Federal District and Paraná) won in the first round. Adenás, his man for the São Paulo government, Tarcisio Freitas, a military man who was a minister, will face Fernando Haddad in the second round, which is the closest Lula has to a political heir. Haddad, the metropolis’ former mayor who lost the presidential election to Bolsonaro four years ago, topped the polls, giving the Labor Party dreams of conquering Brazil’s wealthiest state.


The day was marked by long lines of voters and despite the tense election campaign, normality has returned in almost all of Brazil. The most serious incident was the shooting of a man at a polling station in São Paulo, in which two police officers were shot.

When he went to the polls, Lula recalled his time in prison. “This is an important day for me,” he said. “Four years ago I couldn’t vote because I was the victim of a lie. I want to help my country get back to normal,” he added in São Bernardo do Campo (São Paulo), where he grew up as a trade union and political leader.

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In Brazil, voting takes place in an electronic ballot box: citizens enter the number assigned to each candidate, whose photo the voter can see. This is a method introduced 25 years ago to make life easier for illiterate people and to combat fraud. Lula is 13 and Bolsonaro is 22. The system was a national pride, but President Bolsonaro has seriously undermined its credibility. The President has expressed doubts up to the last minute, always without evidence, against a system that has not suffered any relevant fraud. “If the elections are clean, no problem, may the best win,” declared the Brazilian president this Sunday morning while voting in a military village in Rio de Janeiro, dressed in a shirt with the national colors. The problem is that a large part of the Bolsonaristas believed this speech and suspect that the electoral authorities would snatch a possible victory from their leader. Voting takes place in hacker-proof ballot boxes that are not connected to the internet.

That’s why Bolsonaro’s reaction to the official results is crucial. The electronic voting system and the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), along with the Lula-Bolsonaro duo, were the main protagonists of this campaign. There are fears that the far-right will mobilize his Donald Trump-style supporters in the face of an outcome he does not like with the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The 156 million voters called to the polls elect the President, the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, the governors of the 26 states and the federal district and all state legislatures. In the case of the President and Governors, there is a second round if neither of them gets 50% plus one of the valid votes, not counting blank and zero votes. Voting is compulsory, but the fine for those who do not exercise their right is small and abstention is usually around 20%. For the first time, the whole country voted at the same time, so the count begins when the schools close.

After the 13th for Lula and the 22nd for Bolsonaro, there are two completely antagonistic countries.

Bolsonaro’s mandate was quite similar to his career as a flamboyant and nostalgic MP, nostalgic for the dictatorship. It’s been almost four years, marked by a denial in dealing with the pandemic and the delay in purchasing the vaccines. That was his biggest mistake, one blamed most by those who dreamed he would bring about profound political change and are now disappointed. Installed in power, Bolsonarianism has generated constant tensions with other state institutions, most notably the Supreme Court, including more or less veiled threats of a coup. Halfway through his term, and to avoid impeachment, he allied himself with the old policy he had promised to end.

Lula’s campaign for his third term as president – he ruled between 2003 and 2010 – was pure nostalgia. The candidate on the left offers his compatriots recipes that worked then but have been improved, he usually says. Always ambiguous, he doesn’t elaborate on how he intends to do that in an improving but not yet taking off economy. And meanwhile his promise that Brazil will be happy again with him has prevailed.

Lula leads a 10-party candidacy ranging from the far left to the center right. And as a running mate, he’s leading one of his historic adversaries, Geraldo Alkcmin, a traditional centre-right figure who is softening the profile of those who still see Lula as a radical.

Lula’s rallies are a constant reminder of the best achievements of progressive governments in eradicating poverty and promoting inclusion and prosperity for the disinherited masses that white elites have neglected for centuries. That’s why the poor have always remained loyal to the Workers’ Party, even in the midst of the worst corruption scandals and when Lula was jailed after the corruption convictions were later overturned. He was tried by a judge, Sergio Moro, who did not have the case. Moro, who was Bolsonaro’s justice minister and broke with him, is seeking a seat in the Senate.

Lula’s voter is poor, female, and more likely to be mestizo or black. Instead, the richest, most educated, whites and men prefer Bolsonaro.

The former military man, who managed to wow his countrymen with anti-political discourse, a relentless fight against corruption and a strong hand on security, ended up disappointing his constituents over a desire for radical change and a liberal agenda in business. Instead, the most ideological have stayed at his side, the enthusiasts of the anti-communist discourse that sees the left as an implacable enemy, including many defenders of arms.

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