ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Brazil Elections

A Win for Democracy, But the Far-right Threat Remains

While the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is a necessary step towards saving the Brazilian political democracy, its social fabric has been severely weakened by the far right. It will take years to begin rebuilding a decent and inclusive society, where all Brazilians, including minorities and the marginalised, feel safe and can thrive.


On 30 October, Brazilians went to the polls in the second round of voting for Brazil’s president, after neither of the front runner candidates won at least 50% of the votes in the first round. The stakes were high: Brazilians were choosing between two different candidates representing radically different values and visions of society. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, faced off against Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula, the left-wing leader of the Workers’ Party, twice former president of Brazil and Brazil’s first working-class president from 2003 to 2010. The result was tight, with Lula securing 50.9% of the votes against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. The results reflect Brazil’s intense polarisation as well as the growing power and normalisation of the far right. In the weeks leading up to the first and second rounds of the election, the Brazilian landscape was transfor­med, as the Brazilian flag, which has been appropriated by Bolsonaro supporters, started to grace people’s balconies and windows. Lula supporters displayed red flags with images of Lula or a star with the logo of the Workers’ Party.

The election period was marked by high levels of political violence directed against Workers’ Party supporters, with three assassinations, the most notorious of which occurred in the Paraná state of Brazil, when a municipal police officer who was celebrating his birthday with a Lula theme was shot and killed by a Bolsonaro supporter who had invaded the private celebration. The second round of the election also saw multiple instances of attempted voter suppression, during which the Federal Highway Police, a police force known to be sympathetic to Bolsonaro, launched a blitz of police checks against bus passengers on voting day in areas that had registered strong support for Lula in the first round. This was despite a ruling from the president of Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court the day before the second round expressly forbidding the Federal Highway Police from carrying out checks on public transport.

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Updated On : 26th Dec, 2022
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