A Lula da Silva victory could mean a blow to US ambitions and more relevance for Brazil on the world stage.
Brazil’s much-watched presidential election this year ended its first round on Monday, revealing some expected and also surprising results. South America’s largest country and economy, the final election results on October 30 will have profound consequences for the destiny of the region and the world.
In a nutshell, summarizing what is happening, the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is supposed to be up against former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Both represent completely different agendas, with Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) representing a pro-business and socially conservative agenda while Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT ) – the most powerful party in Brazil before Bolsonaro ascended to the throne – favored workers and was more socially liberal.
In the first round, Lula gone was the clear winner with 48.4% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro’s 43.2%. In terms of voter count, given how easily Lula won, the Workers’ Party candidate defeated her far-right opponent by more than six million votes. However, since he does not guarantee an absolute majority, the election will enter a second round.
It was a really great performance for Lula and in line with what the polls had predicted. Like Brian Mier of teleSUR note in a section for BrasilWire, this is “For the first time since the return to democracy in 1985, a challenger has ever defeated an incumbent in the first-round presidential election in Brazil.” This is even more impressive, as Mier continues, considering the assassination of the character Lula by the Brazilian state and opposition media, and the fact that he was unjustly jailed for 580 days for corruption allegations.
Furthermore, the Workers’ Party won a large profit in the National Congress of 21% – for a total of 68 representatives. PT allies also won some seats, which could theoretically boost the party’s surefire bloc to more than 90 votes in the 513-member lower house. The PT also saw its membership grow to nine in the Senate, where the longtime Brazilian left is underrepresented.
However, Bolsonaro and PL should not be underestimated. The far-right president has beaten the polls by a negligible 5, and his party still holds the most seats in the lower house and the Senate. Several Bolsonaro fanatics have been elected to Congress, including the candidate who won the most votes of any, Nikolas Ferreira, at 1.4 million. We can also recall how unlikely the prospect of a Bolsonaro presidency just four years ago seemed unlikely.
I certainly recall very clearly the results of the country’s last presidential election in 2018, when I was living with a Brazilian, my best friend, Jasmina, at the time. Late on the evening of the election with my then-girlfriend at our apartment, I remember hearing Jasmina crying through the wall in the next room when the news broke of Bolsonaro’s victory.
This time I spoke to her again to see where she was and if maybe the results of the first round gave her a different reaction. She said she felt “cautious hope” about this year’s election. While polls predict her desired outcome of Lula winning, she knows that Bolsonaro has a strong following. She also pointed out that turnout was overwhelming at her polling place in Munich, Germany – with queues of six to seven hours just to cast their ballots.
She said her top problems this year are inequality, which she hopes the next president will work to reduce; preserve the Amazon and the issues surrounding indigenous peoples and their rights; and access to education, which she says reflects Brazil’s stark divide between rich and poor. According to her, Bolsonaro’s tenure has marked “Incredible Steps Back” on these matters, note that “The number of police violence, hate crimes and prejudice against any and all minorities has increased dramatically.”
My friend also said that Brazil’s international reputation was tarnished during the Bolsonaro years. She noted that the country leaving the world hunger map and joining the BRICS were positive steps, orchestrated by Lula, that Bolsonaro’s presidency had undermined. On the contrary, while she was younger than when Lula was president, she recalls her presidency in a positive light. During those years, she said, “You find that more support for the poor comes from the government.”
Jasmina did an excellent job of synthesizing the most important issues in the country, while covering some of the regional and global issues important to Brazil. Regionally, a Lula win would mark a string of back-to-back wins in Latin America following Luis Arce’s 2020 win in Bolivia, Gabriel Boric’s 2021 victory in Chile and this year’s Gustavo Petro’s victory in Colombia. Each of these, minus Boric’s victory because he turned out to be a cowardly leftist, was a heavy blow to US dominance in Latin America and a victory for multilateralism. really.
Bolsonaro was a staunch supporter of Uncle Sam’s imperial ambitions in the region, even making Brazil the “Non-NATO Allies” from the West’s most important military alliance. The far-right president is a key player in the US-led efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He has also assisted American multinational corporations in their efforts to destroy and commercialize the land of the Amazon Rainforest. Lula looked like she was about to break her kneecap.
For the world, the return of the leftist president also has serious implications. For all of Lula’s accomplishments, one that many forget is how important his presidency was in helping Brazil achieve its well-deserved reputation as a global importer.
Indeed, that was Lula’s ambition. He wants Brazil to be a diplomatically important country, closely aligned with the non-aligned movement. For example, Brazil led the global leadership in rebuilding Iraq after the US invasion. Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello served as the UN’s special representative to Iraq before he was killed in a 2003 bombing that marked the end of the UN’s role – and thus the multilateral peace efforts – in this Middle Eastern country.
Lula also helped found BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2009, then known only as BRIC before South Africa joined in 2010. The group’s goal now from the outset is to attract developing countries to participate more internationally. problems and reforming financial institutions while improving the global economic situation, which at that time was devastated by the financial crisis of 2007-08.
A key issue for the BRICS to this day is the development of alternatives to the Western-dominated global financial system, which was initially caused by America’s mismanagement of the economy. as the world’s financial center and is now largely due to Washington’s unilateral sanctions. This is an extremely important discussion that, if Lula wins, will greatly benefit from Brazil’s renewed effort.
We could also see Brazil developing closer ties with China, as some other leftist governments in Latin America have had, and official registration for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). ). Although Bolsonaro is not an enemy of China, and indeed his government has made lucrative deals with the Chinese, he has stopped making any move that would make the handlers His leash in Washington must have been astounded. Once again, Lula could shake things up by joining the Beijing-led infrastructure program.
But even with plenty of epic changes lined up waiting for Lula’s win, no matter how favorable the polls or how strong the show, he can rally in the first round of voting. First of all, this year’s election is still going on. I believe my friend Jasmina said it best – and anyone interested in Brazil’s future should as she says, “Careful Hope” about this election and a potential victory for Lula.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent RT.