The dust is still settling after the first round of Brazil’s Sunday election. Center-left challenger and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva finished the first round ahead, but fell just short of the 50 percent of votes he needed to clinch an outright victory.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, meanwhile, performed much better than expected. Reputable pollsters had his support for him at around the mid-30 percent mark, but he managed to win over 43 percent of the votes, just 6 million shy of Lula’s 48 percent.
The pair will now go head to head in the October 30 runoff, and what once looked like a foregone conclusion will now go right down to the wire — especially considering there are another four weeks of campaigning before the final vote.
But, as we often say at The Brazilian Report, the presidential election is not the only game in town, and congressional races are arguably even more critical to determine the path the country will take in the coming four years.
And in this regard, Jair Bolsonaro has already scored a big victory.
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- Beatriz Rey is a columnist for The Brazilian Report. She is an SNF Now Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and an APSA Congressional Fellow (2021-2022) and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Syracuse University and an MA in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: HLV454OEALKQ0QVC, 9JNXUB1H3OK8EJCH, 5ARLATCVUMTLHNCG.
Live Coverage of Brazil’s 2022 election:
Watch our special 2022 live broadcast. The Brazilian Report team hosted special guests on Election Day for a five-hour special broadcast. Guests: Mario Sergio Lima (Medley Advisors), Mauricio Savarese (the Associated Press), Natalie Unterstell (Talanoa Institute).
- We have launched a special 2022 election report with everything you need to know about the races for Congress, governorships, and, of course, the presidency. Buy it here! Use the Explaining2022 promo code for a 20-percent discount.
- Recent polls suggested a first-round Lula landslide was on the cards, but Jair Bolsonaro stunned the political world by making the race closer than expected, writes Cedê Silva.
- In our Brazil Daily newsletter, we break down the geography of the Brazilian vote with exclusive charts.
- Why did Brazilian polls get the election so wrong? Brasilia correspondent Amanda Audi offers some explanations. She also explains how pro-Bolsonaro politicians are using the electoral results to persecute pollsters.
- Incumbency bias tends to be strong in Brazil, and it has returned in force this year, with 12 of the 19 sitting governors running for re-election getting outright wins.
- Few places around the world dedicate as much importance to election jingles as Brazil, where the catchy tunes have become an ever-present part of the democratic process.
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