Brazil will join a growing group of nations who choose antiestablishment leaders, with voters expressing frustration over economic misery, graft…
Brazil will join a growing group of nations who choose antiestablishment leaders, with voters expressing frustration over economic misery, graft scandals and crumbling public services.
On Sunday, Brazil will elect a new president, who will be inaugurated Jan.1, and will rule Latin America’s largest nation by 2022. After a first round of votes earlier this month, the race is down to the right-hand judge and heavy favorite Jair Bolsonaro, against the left-hand previous mayor of Sao Paulo and university professor Fernando Haddad.
Brazil has a population of 209 million people, of which almost 135 million years of voting and must vote. One of their main remarks is the extremely high murder of the country.
The voices are also disappointed by an economy that has shrunk for two consecutive years and is still slow today, with almost 13 million workers unemployed.
The problems encountered by the Brazilians in their daily lives are exacerbated by the perception that their tax money is wasted by a corrupt political class.
Mr. Bolsonaro was stabbed by a political enemy in September and still recovering. Running for a little known party, he has capitalized on voters’ ears largely thanks to his apparently corruption-free past. For many of his supporters, this pure slate outweighs its history as a retired army captain who has publicly sympathized with the military dictatorship in Brazil in 1964-1985 and has often lashed against homosexual, black and domestic and women’s rights. On a speech sent to thousands of followers in a later conversation, he said that communists would be “swept out of our nation” if he wins.
His rise has also been driven by the religious voice. Mr Bolsonaro declares Catholic, but he closely ties with the Evangelical Church, which is the fastest growing religious group in the world’s largest Catholic country.
Mr. Haddad, in turn, runs the social integration platform of Brazil’s largest left-wing group, Labor Party. He is also a position for the founder of the party and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose administration for 2003-2010 is covered by transplant, yet convinced of the strongest economic growth in a generation. Mr. Silva is now in jail for corruption and denies possible mistakes, while the economy has fallen and remains weak.
Next president will be challenged to revive the golden years, driven by a worldwide commodity bomb that has since petered out. Most economists agree that Brazil must cut generous pension benefits and other expenses to reduce the country’s swelling debt, an unpopular movement likely to lead to political tension.
On the bright side, the next president will have an inflation rate within the central bank’s targeting, a significant advantage in a country where price increases beyond control are a historic hostage. But the central bank may need to start borrowing costs to keep inflation tamed, especially if the budget is not balanced soon, economists say.
Creating a job, attacking crime and avoiding corruption scandals is the key to the next president if he wants to avoid the fate of the existing president Michel Temer, a conservative who took over 2016 after the controversial impeachment and cheers of his former boss, Dilma Rousseff, a Member of Haddad’s Workers’ Party.
Mr. Temer saw the end of a deep two-year recession and a sharp decline in inflation and borrowing costs, but sustained unemployment and scandal made him one of the least popular Brazilian presidents ever.
Write to Paulo Trevisani at [email protected]