Brazilian presidential elections 2022-Lula finished on top in the first round

 Former president Lula will face sitting president Bolsonaro in the second round on October 30 as he fell short of 50% votes in the first round

Former leftwing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva known as Lula of left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) came first in the first round of Brazilian presidential elections. Lula bagged 57.25 million (57,259,504) - 48.4percent of the votes. He got 6.1 million more votes than his close rival Bolsonaro. But he fell short of 50% threshold to win outright presidency without going into 2nd round. Couple of million more votes could have handed Lula a straight victory in the first round but it couldn’t happen.   

 Incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro of far right Liberal Party (PL) received 51.07 million (51,072,345) - 43.2percent of the votes.  The Far right Bolsonaro performed better than most of the opinion polls predicted. Most of the opinion polls were predicting 10 to 14 points difference between Bolsonaro and Lula but Bolsonaro outperformed polls and will face off against Lula da Silva in an October 30 runoff election.

Simone Tebet came third with (4.91 million) 4,915,423- 4.2percent of the votes while Ciro Gomes (3.59 million) 3,599,287- 3% of the votes and finished fourth among 11 candidates.

Leftwing Lula is a frontrunner in the second round on October 30. But there might be a close contest in the second round. Some leftwing candidates who lost in the first round might play important role in the victory of Lula in the 2nd round.   

Far right Jair Bolsonaro claimed during the election campaign that he will only lose the election in case of rigging. Like Trump during the 2020 US presidential elections, Bolsonaro accused his opponents for stealing the elections. It seems that like trump, Bolsonaro might create hurdles in the peaceful transfer of power in case of Lula victory on October 30.

The rightwing Brazilian ruling class is not happy with prospect of Lula presidency. The ruling class might side with Bolsonaro in the 2nd round and rallied rightwing forces behind Bolsonaro. So it might be an interesting battle on October 30.

Bolsonaro’s party did well in the Senate elections and won 15 out 27 seats on grab. It means rightwing will continue to enjoy majority in the Senate. His party also improved its position in Congress.  So a hostile Senate will greet Lula if he wins second round and elected president. The Senate and Congress majority by his opponents will make life difficult for Lula as president.      

Lula is known as a man of people and poor. He introduced many social programs and reforms as the president to reduce hunger and poverty. During his first stint as president, from 2003 to 2010, Lula introduced or strengthened three key social spending programs designed to fight hunger and poverty. Under those programs, severe poverty dropped by 12 percent from 2003 to 2008. The best-known program, cash transfer initiative called Bolsa Familia, reached about 11 million families.

Economy, public health and corruption are the main issues concerning the voters. Some voters also concerned about education and crime.

Brazil is recovering from the effects of it’s worst-ever recession, which began in 2014, and the country continue to struggle with limited growth and high inflation. Brazil is also still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout, such as increased poverty and an ongoing education crisis. Meanwhile, the country’s high rates of violent crimes including murder, robbery, and kidnapping persist.

Jair Bolsonaro. A former army captain and congressman, Bolsonaro won the 2018 presidential election campaigning as a right-wing, socially conservative nationalist. He promised to tackle crime and corruption and boost economic growth.

However, his tenure has featured many controversial decisions including cutting funding for federal education, relaxing gun ownership laws, and weakening LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights. He has also drawn international criticism for his treatment of Indigenous communities and the Amazon Rainforest as well as for his management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 680,000 people in Brazil.

His reelection campaign has emphasized his extreme rightwing agenda including his opposition to abortion, transgender rights, legalized drugs, and restrictions on freedom of religion and speech. He also positions himself as the business-friendly candidate, backing a more open-market economy and the privatization of state companies.

Leftwing Lula is one of the most popular political leaders in the history of Brazil.  Lula’s Workers’ Party, with its roots in the trade union movement, casts itself as a champion of economic and social justice. In particular, Lula has prioritized tackling low growth, inequality, and a worsening hunger crisis. He says if he’s reelected, he will increase social spending, expand social housing, and introduce a debt forgiveness program. He has also pledged to eliminate the cap on public spending, increase taxes on the wealthy, and strengthen conservation efforts in the Amazon.

                                                                           Khalid Bhatti


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