SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Voters in Brazil, the world’s fourth largest democracy, seem to be prepared to elect a very right-wing populist as president in a Sunday wreck that could signal the biggest political shift in the country since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985.
Jair Bolsonaro, who came close to a direct victory in the first round of voting this month, with 46 percent, will meet Fernando Haddad from the Left Party, who received 29 percent. Here is a puppy primer:
What are the candidates for?
Mr. Bolsonaro, 63, a former Army Captain, was first elected to Congress in 1
991. During the majority of his legislative career, he was a marginal figure known for speaking nostalgically about the military dictatorship 1964-1985 and for making urgent comments about women and minorities.
However, as the country’s most important political parties were fought in an extensive corruption investigation, known as Lava Jato or Car Wash, Bolsonaro has turned to voters as an anti-establishment that will combat grafting. And in a country traumatized by violent violations, his iron-fisted approach to law and order has appealed to voters in traditional left-wing brackets.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s meteoric rise is all the more remarkable, as he invested in a burgeoning budget, largely based on social media, while his rivals enjoyed generous public funding and sought after slots on television and radio, allocated on the basis of party size.
Week before the first round of voting, Mr Bolsonaro was stabbed at a rally and was forced to fight from his bed. However, road-to-road coverage of the attack kept him in the headlines and seemed to have increased his appeal.
Mr. Bolsonaro also benefited from last minute approvals from evangelicals and the powerful agribusiness industry.
Mr. Haddad’s campaign, which began one month before the first round of voting, posed its own challenges. He was elected to replace Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the vote after the former president, serving a prison period on corruption and money laundering costs, was prevented from running as a candidate candidate candidate.
Mr. when Silva had been in the polls until the court ruled in August that he was not eligible to run.
Despite the campaign log “Haddad Is Lula”, the less charismatic Haddad has failed to win completely over the former president’s base. He also faced the wrath of voters who blamed the Labor Party not only for the corruption scandal, but also for a degrading recession that began on the way to Mr. Silva’s successor, former president Dilma Rousseff.
As for the voter’s minds
Soaring crime, a fierce economy and corruption has dominated the debate.
Although Bolsonaro could not point to any major achievements under his seven terms as legislator, he marked his clean record. He cultivated a picture as a raw but honest candidate and promised to reject traditional horse trade.
Brazil’s disgust with politics as usual appeared in the first round of voting when conservatives joined Bolsonaro won a surprising number of congress seats – 52, upwards from eight – making their Social Liberal Party second largest in the lower house.
While Haddad tried to refrain from Mr. After Silva after the first round of voting – remove the former president’s image from campaign ads and replace the Labor Party’s traditional red for the blue, green and yellow of the Brazilian flag – he dodged questions about the party’s responsibility for the corruption scandal.
Public anger of crime also led to the campaign. Brazil has an average of 175 murders a day over the past year, exceeding its previous macro record. Mr Bolsonaro, who often stands with his fingers pointing out as guns, has promised to ease gun restrictions and make it easier for the police to kill suspects.
Haddad appealed to poor voters with promises to increase social spending and “make Brazil happy again.” But Mr. Bolsonaro has tried to win over the middle and upper classes, as well as the markets, by choosing Paulo Guedes, a professional, University of Chicago-trained investor to be his future finance minister.
What about the economy?
A victory by Bolsonaro could signal that a large part of the political establishment had been overthrown, which has been dominated by the Labor Party since 2002.
Critics say Mr. Bolsonaro will staff his cabinet with military men, despicate political opponents and undermine democratic institutions. Just one week before the vote, he told a rally in São Paulo via video that his Workers rivals would have to leave the country or go to jail.
“The red, good-to-nothings will be cursed from home,” he said. “It will be a remediation, as has never seen in Brazilian history.”
Some Brazilians have been concerned that Haddad’s choice could undermine the Car Wash investigation and lead to mr. When Silva was released from prison. It gave them a reason to save Mr.. Bolsonaro.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the next president is the economy. Brazil is struggling to emerge from the worst recession on record, leaving almost 13 million unemployed.
Neither the candidate has submitted a detailed economic recovery plan, but the markets have invested on Bolsonaro as more likely to lower and privatize on-site.
The election has the potential not only to form the fate of Latin America’s largest country, but also to the fate of Amazon.
Mr. Bolsonaro has promised to master the agribusiness sector, which aims to open up more forests to produce beef and soybeans. He has threatened to weaken or eliminate the Ministry of the Environment and withdraw funding from authorities punishing illegal forest workers and miners.