Lula and Bolsonaro to face off in second round of presidential elections in Brazil

Leftist candidate Lula da Silva obtained 48.43% of the votes, while conservative Bolsonaro followed him with 43.20% of the votes

October 03, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Brazil elections
Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will face off in the run-off on October 30. (Photo: Archives)

Brazil’s presidential race is headed to a second round after none of the candidates secured a simple majority (more than 50% of the votes) needed to win the country’s presidency outright. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and current President Jair Bolsonaro of the far-right Liberal Party (PL) came first and second respectively in the first round of the presidential election held on Sunday, October 2.

With 99.99% of the votes counted, Lula obtained 48.43% of the votes, while Bolsonaro, who out-performed pollsters’ predictions, followed him with 43.20% of the votes. They will now face off in the second round on October 30.

Trailing the top two candidates were Simone Tebet of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) with 4.16% of the votes, and Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT) with 3.04% of the votes. The remaining seven contestants secured less than 1% of the votes.

Following the confirmation of the second round, Lula thanked the citizens in a press conference for their support and vowed to continue working to win the elections and recover Brazil.

“I see this as a second chance that the Brazilian people are giving me. Tomorrow, I start the campaign. The struggle continues until our final victory,” said Lula, who was president from January 2003 until January 2011.

He recalled his first victory in the 2002 presidential elections, saying that those elections were also held in the last days of October. He also stressed that he had never won an election in the first round, and said that he is convinced of his victory in the upcoming run-off.

He said that it was important to celebrate this partial victory since four years ago he was considered a political outsider. Lula was barred from running for office during the 2018 election due to corruption charges – that were later annulled – in the Lava Jato case.

“I had said that we were going to return and with more force,” Lula said amid applause.

Lula added that these 30 days were another opportunity for him to closely engage in dialogue with Brazilian society, and assured that he would win over Brazilians. 

“I am sure that we will win Brazil,” he concluded.

For his part, Bolsonaro stated that he would talk to the people and show them his “best side.”

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

76-year-old former metal worker and trade union leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva served as the 35th president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. During his time in office, Lula implemented several progressive policies in support of the working class and introduced various social programs, including Bolsa Família and Fome Zero which were aimed at lifting thousands of Brazilians out of extreme poverty and malnutrition. During eight years of his administration, Brazil witnessed high levels of economic stability. In late 2005, the country paid off its debt to the IMF in full, two years ahead of schedule. He also played a significant role in environmental protection. He created conservation areas and Indigenous reserves, which led to a substantial decrease in deforestation. He left office with an approval rating of 83%.

Lula has pledged to return Brazil to the spirit of his prior presidency. He has promised to overturn many of Bolsonaro’s anti-people policies and introduce new social programs. He has also committed to strengthen the country’s health sector, which was utterly destroyed by the incumbent government. He has vowed to bolster measures to protect the Amazon rainforest and crack down on illegal activity in the area, which suffered vast deforestation and various episodes of forest fires during Bolsonaro’s term.

Jair Bolsonaro

63-year-old retired military officer and former congressman, Jair Bolsonaro, was elected as Brazil’s 38th president in 2018. Previously, he was elected as a member to the lower house of Congress from the state of Rio de Janeiro six times. During his 27-year tenure as a legislator, he was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, abortion, and secularism. During his presidential term, he implemented numerous neoliberal and pro-market policies. He strengthened the military and gun ownership laws. In terms of the environment, he weakened environmental protection laws, advocating that parts of the rainforest should be opened up to economic exploitation. In foreign policy, he sided with the United States and Israel on various regional matters, attracting widespread criticism for weakening regional integration. He was also harshly criticized for downplaying and mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic, from which over 680,000 Brazilians died, the fourth highest toll in the world.

Bolsonaro has rallied around conservative issues while focusing on demonizing Lula and Brazil’s electoral institutions. He has proposed to reform the latter and continue strengthening the policies implemented during the past four years of his government. He enjoys support of evangelical Christians, businessmen, rural landowners, and police and military families.

Legislative elections

Sunday’s elections were also held to elect 27 governors, 513 members of the Chamber of Deputies, and 27 of 81 members of the Senate for the period 2023-2026.

According to the results issued by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the right-wing forces have consolidated their position in the governorships as well as the parliament.

Out of the 15 governors elected in the first round, nine belong to the conservative PL, while six are from the progressive PT.

Likewise, in the Chamber of Deputies, the PL won 99 seats, gaining 23 seats. In the Senate, it won seven seats and reached a total of 13 seats. Additionally, the PL is the largest bench in both houses. Along with its allies, such as the right-wing Brazil Union party, the Progressive Party and the Social Democratic Progress Party, among others, the PL holds the majority in the congress.

Meanwhile, the coalition of left-wing parties -PT, Communist Party and Green Party (PV)- won 79 seats in the lower house, gaining 11 seats. In the upper house, the PT won nine seats, gaining two.