The Brazilian presidential election enters a second round of voting on 30th October 2022, as former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) hopes for a comeback, and rightist Jair Bolsonaro seeks re-election. The first round saw Lula in the lead, with roughly 48% of the vote, and Bolsonaro behind by 5%. It was anticipated by many polls that Lula would be able to secure the 50% of votes needed to win the Presidency, however Bolsonaro outperformed predictions, demonstrating a stronger hold on Brazilian constituencies. The rest of the presidential candidates must now decide whether their party will publicly support either Lula or Bolsonaro or remain neutral. Candidates, such as Simone Tebet (4.2% of votes) and Ciro Gomes (3% of votes), have both announced their support for Lula.
It is common for the presidential election to be decided with two rounds of voting; a presidential election has never been won in Brazil within its first round since 1989, which marks the year of Brazil’s first presidential election after the end of its military dictatorship. However, examination of trends dating back to 1989 finds that the candidate who has won the first round of elections has won the Presidency in the second round. This trend anticipates that Lula will win the presidency. Both candidates have a troubled history within Brazilian politics; Bolsonaro is known for his staunch support for the military dictatorship and poor handling of the pandemic, while as Lula has been recently imprisoned for his role in Latin America’s largest corruption scandal, ‘Operação Lava Jato’ (Operation Car Wash), and successfully overturned the Court’s decision of imprisonment through the Brazil’s Supreme Court in 202, so that he could run again in this election. Due these circumstances, many news outlets, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and other western publications, have emphasized this election as determining the future of democracy for the nation and possibility of Bolsonaro attempting a coup to stay in the presidency.
With such high stakes, there have been many demonstrations from both parties and instances of civilian deaths rooted in political difference. Therefore, beyond the future of Brazilian democracy, the fate of millions of Brazilian lives lies in these candidates’ hands as the policies they implement as President, will determine funding for social welfare programs; recognition of indigenous peoples, racism, poverty; and the future of both the Amazon rainforest and Brazil’s reputation on the world stage.