LatinNews Daily - 03 October 2022

BRAZIL: Bolsonaro and Lula through to run-off

On 2 October Brazil’s top electoral authority (TSE) released preliminary results from the general election held that day which showed left-wing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), and current president Jair Bolsonaro (Partido Liberal, PL) would compete in the 30 October presidential second-round run-off.


Brazilians headed to the polls to elect the president, a third of the federal senate, all members of the federal lower chamber, state governors, and state legislatures. While preliminary results for the presidential vote showed Lula on 48.43%-43.20% for Bolsonaro, the result was much closer than expected. Ahead of the vote, opinion polls gave Lula an advantage of up to 17 percentage points, even suggesting he had the chance of an outright first-round victory (which would have required over 50% of valid votes). Bolsonaro not only closed the gap in the presidential race but also saw key allies elected to the federal congress and state governorships. Political tensions are likely to escalate in the lead-up to the run-off vote.

  • About 156m people were eligible to vote yesterday, but, although voting is mandatory for Brazilians aged 18-70, abstention was 20.95% on the latest figures.
  • After the TSE announced the preliminary results, both Lula and Bolsonaro celebrated the election outcome. “We are going to win this election, this is only a postponement [of the electoral process],” said the leftist former president. Meanwhile Bolsonaro claimed that the results revealed the supposed bias of pollsters. “We beat the lie today,” he told journalists.
  • Among Bolsonaro’s key allies elected for an eight-year term in the federal senate are Marcos Pontes (PL), former minister of science, technology, and innovation (2019-2022), and Damares Alves (Republicanos), former minister for women & human rights (2019-2022). Former health minister Eduardo Pazuello (PL) (2020-2021), who has been accused of mishandling the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and Ricardo Salles (PL), a former environmental minister (2019-2021) accused of overlooking the Amazon deforestation issue, won seats in the federal lower chamber. Federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL), one of Bolsonaro’s sons, was also re-elected, although he received 741,000 votes yesterday, compared to 1.8m in 2018.
  • Sergio Moro (União Brasil), the former judge who presided over the ‘Lava Jato’ corruption probe and served as justice minister (2019-2020) in Bolsonaro’s administration, won a federal senate seat for Paraná state while his wife, lawyer Rosângela Moro (União Brasil), was elected for the federal lower chamber for São Paulo state. Moro sentenced Lula to prison in 2018, in a decision annulled by Brazil’s supreme court (STF) in 2021, when STF justices considered that his verdict was biased.
  • Eight of the state governors who won an outright first-round victory supported Bolsonaro while five supported Lula. In what was considered another victory for the president, his former infrastructure minister (2019-2022) Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas (Republicanos) defeated Lula’s education minister (2005-2012) Fernando Haddad (PT) in the first-round contest for São Paulo’s state governorship which goes to a second round run-off vote on 30 October.
  • The 2 October election did not register high levels of political violence, as some feared, although there were a few isolated incidents such as the shooting of two policemen as they guarded a polling station in São Paulo, one of whom is said to be in a serious condition.

Looking Ahead: Bolsonaro will start his campaign for the second round reinvigorated, doubling down on his attacks on Lula who will likely seek support from the centre, presenting his candidacy as a part of a pro-democracy coalition. The run-off is expected to be tight.

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