In regard to Lula's policy proposals on the economy, he plans to increase spending on social programs. This will mark the going back on Bolsonaro’s previous budget cuts on these and spending more for the poor, and on health and education. That will entail that a lot of the Brazilian elite will view this as Lula throwing money around and not being fiscally responsible. A lot of Brazilian banks are extremely pessimistic about Lula as a consequence and are already holding campaigns for Bolsonaro, as they believe that under his government there will be more privatization, fewer taxes, and a more business-friendly environment than under Lula.
In terms of foreign policy, the first thing that Lula will do is most likely to try to initiate a new conversation with Europe (previously shut down under Bolsonaro, who only talks to Putin) and his South American neighbors. Promoting a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European community was indeed a major point of Lula's program before. He will also obviously have a much better understanding with Biden and all Brazilian and South American leaders - anything he does on that front will be an improvement from what we have seen in the last four years.
Given the unexpected results and with just under a month to go, can we expect both campaign sides to intensify and be more on the offensive? Finally, in your opinion, how serious is the threat of a post-election coup in the country?
Having obtained 48,4% of the votes in the first round, Lula needs less than 2 million votes to win the elections, while Bolsonaro needs 8 million. One must have these figures in mind to understand that though the post-election momentum is pro-Bolsonaro, Lula is still closer to victory. Many people in Brazil consider that the only way for Bolsonaro not to contest the result is if Lula wins by a very large margin, hence garnering around 10 million votes. The fact that we are going to a very hard and tough election indicates that we will probably have a very small margin between the two candidates. On October 2nd, the margin was 6 million, and it might be even smaller on the 30th. This might just be the excuse for Bolsonaro to claim he won, and push people to take it to the streets and contest the results. The fact that we are facing a second round makes it all the easier for him to refuse defeat.
Brazil is not in the state of a coup d’état per se, but in a situation where people taking to the streets in the form of great manifestations is possible. A scenario in which armed generals with tanks take over is unlikely but we could witness fights, invaded spaces, heavy casualties, and potential deaths. Under Bolsonaro, gun sales have exploded in Brazil, leading to the gradual escalation of violence. Therefore, brutality in the aftermath of a Bolsonarian defeat is a possibility, though maybe not a fatality. In sum, we are facing a situation where supporters of both camps feel like their lives are being decided, and are hence viewing these elections as a battle between evil and good, not willing to accept defeat. No matter the results of October 30th, Brazil will be a country as divided as the US, but with irremediably weaker institutions.
Copyright: NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP
Add new comment