Live 2022 Race

Minas Gerais governor pledges support to Bolsonaro in the coming days

Cedê Silva
Oct 03, 2022 16:39

Romeu Zema, governor-re-elect of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second-largest state in population, on Monday pledged to endorse President Jair Bolsonaro in the presidential runoff against left-leaning former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“It is likely that tomorrow or [the day] after we will announce our support for the president. The Workers’ Party destroyed Minas Gerais, destroyed important cities like Uberlândia and Pouso Alegre,” Mr. Zema told cable news station GloboNews, referring to previous administrations in those cities.

Mr. Zema was first elected as a dark horse candidate in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Governor Fernando Pimentel of the Workers’ Party, a former member of the Dilma Rousseff cabinet.

Mr. Zema, of the libertarian Novo party, easily got an outright win yesterday — with 56 percent of the vote, compared with 35 percent for his closest rival, former Belo Horizonte Mayor Alexandre Kalil.

In the state of Minas Gerais, Lula got 48 percent of the vote, against 43 percent for Mr. Bolsonaro. The results are strikingly similar to the nationwide polls, which had the same percentage points for both candidates.

Mr. Zema performed better than Mr. Bolsonaro in the state, getting over 850,000 more votes than the president.

President Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party had nominated Senator Carlos Viana for the governorship. Mr. Viana finished in a distant third place, with 7 percent of the vote, and will return to the Senate to serve the remainder of his eight-year term.

Since 1989, no candidate has won the presidency without winning in Minas Gerais. Jair Bolsonaro got fewer votes on Sunday than four years ago — and will be hoping that Mr. Zema’s support helps him recoup some of these losses.

Congressional vote champions hail from both the left and the right

Constance Malleret
Oct 03, 2022 16:25 (Updated: Oct 03, 2022 16:26)

Vote champions in this Sunday’s legislative elections for Brazil’s lower house included established political figures and relative newcomers on both the left and the right.

So-called vote champions are the legislative candidates who receive the highest number of votes in a given state. Due to the proportional voting system in place for elections to the Lower House, these strong players can help win seats for colleagues from their party or coalition.

Nikolas Ferreira, who belongs to President Jair Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party, is the candidate who received the highest number of votes this year, winning a seat to represent the state of Minas Gerais in the next four-year legislature with nearly 1.5 million votes.

The conservative Mr. Ferreira, who is 26 years old and was elected in 2020 as city councilor for Belo Horizonte, is now the most-voted Lower House representative in the state of Minas Gerais ever.

The record for Brazil continues to be held by Eduardo Bolsonaro, who in 2018 won a seat representing the state of São Paulo with 1.8 million votes. However, the performance of the president’s third-eldest son was something of a disappointment this year: although he won re-election as the third most-voted candidate in São Paulo, he lost more than a million votes, receiving just over 740,000.

In São Paulo, the leading vote champion is former presidential candidate and social activist Guilherme Boulos, from the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party, with 1 million votes. The second-most voted candidate in Brazil’s largest electoral constituency is the bolsonarista Carla Zambelli, with some 946,000.  

The opposition to President Bolsonaro scored wins in Minas Gerais, with more progressive candidates coming in second and third (although with just a fraction of the votes received by Mr. Ferreira). André Janones from the Avante party maintained his popularity and won a second term with just shy of 239,000 votes, while Duda Salabert from the leftist Democratic Labour Party made history as one of the first two trans women elected to federal congress in Brazil (the other is Erika Hilton, in São Paulo).

Despite these small victories for progressive politics, Bolsonarism appears to have come out on top. This is evident in the election of General Eduardo Pazuello, who served as Mr. Bolsonaro’s much-criticized health minister during the worst of the Covid pandemic, as the second-most voted Lower House representative in Rio de Janeiro, the country’s third-largest electoral constituency.

Meanwhile, lawmakers who rose to prominence by riding Mr. Bolsonaro’s coattails in 2018 but have since broken ties with the president suffered electoral defeats. This is notably the case of Joice Hasselmann, who in 2018 was a fervent supporter of Mr. Bolsonaro and became the most-voted woman ever with more than one million votes. 

But Ms. Hasselmann, who became a critic of Mr. Bolsonaro after a very public falling out, failed to win a second term this year. Alexandre Frota, an outgoing federal lawmaker who was one of the first politicians to break with Mr. Bolsonaro at the start of his term in 2019, did not receive enough votes to secure a seat in the São Paulo state legislature.

Brazilian markets waits for signals from both Lula and Bolsonaro

Fabiane Ziolla Menezes
Oct 03, 2022 11:56

Ahead of Brazil’s general election on Sunday, analysts from main banks, brokerages, and asset managers had indicated that they would not welcome any big surprises on Election Day. 

Yet President Jair Bolsonaro’s stronger-than-expected showing against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, resulting in a runoff which will be held on October 30, has boosted the main indicators in the domestic financial markets on Monday. 

The benchmark stock index Ibovespa rose more than 4 percent upon opening on Monday morning. At the same time, the U.S. dollar had fallen more than 3.7 percent by 11 am.

This behavior is apparently not tied to the global scenario (not yet, at least), with global stock markets retreating and New York stock futures operating on the sidelines amid concerns that more aggressive monetary policies around the world could trigger a global recession.

Improved forecasts for growth and inflation in Brazil are also helping. Private sector analysts surveyed weekly by the Central Bank for its Focus Report have revised GDP projections for this year up to 2.7 percent and inflation forecasts down to 5.74 percent by year’s end. The benchmark interest rate is expected to remain at 13.75 percent.

“Congress is dominated by the Big Center [a federation of ideologically fluid parties which has become the leading political force in Brasília]; whoever is elected will have to sit and negotiate with Arthur Lira [the House speaker],” says Luciano Sobral, chief economist at investment firm Neo Investimentos.

Other analysts believe that Lula’s victory in the first round could strengthen him, which could lead the former president to make fewer concessions to the market. 

“If the Lula campaign believes it needs to give specific proposal points to win the election, it will,” said Mario Sergio Lima, a senior analyst at Medley Advisors, during The Brazilian Report‘s 2022 live broadcast on Sunday. “But the question is: does he need to do that? So far, Lula hasn’t.”

What the investment and business sectors now expect is a clearer nod from Lula to the center and, above all, economic guidelines that seek fiscal balance. Appointing more names such as former central banker Henrique Meirelles as finance minister, for example, would be a good sign — the ultimate token of commitment to austerity.

They also expect Mr. Bolsonaro to demonstrate his appetite for privatization and plans to curb public spending despite expensive election promises such as keeping the Auxílio Brasil cash transfer program at BRL 600 a month.

Governors of 12 Brazilian states won re-election in the first round

Amanda Audi and Ana Ferraz
Oct 02, 2022 23:00 (Updated: Oct 03, 2022 8:33)

Governors of 19 Brazilian states were seeking re-election this Sunday, and 12 of them managed to accomplish that already today, not leaving the decisions for the second round.

Of the governors who managed to secure the seat, eight were supported by President Jair Bolsonaro and four by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The last one to be defined was Carlos Brandão, who was seeking re-election in Maranhão. With over 98 percent of the polls counted, he had 51.15 percent of the votes.

Another four current governors are still vying for the second round in Paraíba, Espírito Santo, Alagoas, and Rondônia.

The list of defeated incumbents includes Rodrigo Garcia of São Paulo. The state will have a second round between Fernando Haddad, supported by Lula, and Tarcísio de Freitas, Jair Bolsonaro’s former Infrastructure minister. The 2022 election put an end to a 28-year hegemony of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).

Some of those re-elected had a large advantage over their opponents, such as Helder Barbalho (Pará) and Ratinho Júnior (Paraná), who were in the 70-percent range.

Lula’s support takes Bahia governorship dispute to the second round

Fabiane Ziolla Menezes
Oct 02, 2022 22:13 (Updated: Oct 03, 2022 13:42)

A reliable Workers’ Party stronghold, the Northeast state of Bahia is going to have a runoff between ACM Neto from the right-wing party União Brasil and Jerônimo Rodrigues from Lula’s Workers’ Party. 

At 22:00, Mr. Rodrigues had 48.95 percent of the votes, showing a huge advance over the first polls, in which he had less than 25 percent of voting intentions. Mr. Neto, meanwhile, had 41.13 percent. 

While traditional institutes Datafolha and Ipec placed Mr. Rodrigues 15 points behind Mr. Neto, other polls such as Atlas Intel were already showing the rise of the Workers’ Party candidate in the final stretch of the first round.

It was not the first time that an apparent underdog has emerged in an election in Brazil’s oldest state. In fact, dark horses from the Workers’ Party won the governorship in first-round landslides in both 2016 and 2014, despite trailing in the polls for most of the campaign. 

Bahia was kind to Lula once again. With over 95 percent of ballots counted, Lula had more than 69 percent of the vote, while Bolsonaro had just over 24 percent.

In the Senate, former Bolsonaro ministers come back with a vengeance

Cedê Silva
Oct 02, 2022 22:04

Four of Jair Bolsonaro’s former cabinet ministers will get a new job in the Senate, official poll results showed this Sunday.

Damares Alves, Marcos Pontes, Sergio Moro, and Tereza Cristina were elected for eight-year terms in the Senate, which holds three seats for each state.

Mr. Moro is the most famous of the bunch. The former judge, who was the biggest star of the Car Wash investigation, served as Justice Minister under Bolsonaro for slightly more than a year. He resigned in April 2020 after accusing the president of political interference in Federal Police investigations. 

He also said the president asked for privileged information on inquiries under the auspices of the Supreme Court, responsible for conducting cases on high-level politicians such as cabinet ministers, lawmakers and the president himself.

Damares Alves served as Family and Human Rights minister, a platform she mostly used to push far-right causes. She personally worked to delay Covid vaccination programs for children.

Tereza Cristina and Marcos Pontes served as Agriculture and Science and Technology ministers, respectively.

In addition to four former cabinet ministers, President Bolsonaro also got the news this Sunday that his current vice president, Hamilton Mourão, was elected as senator for the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. 

Vice President and now senator-elect Mr. Mourão was mostly kept away from power during the Bolsonaro administration, and was assigned the role of presiding over the Amazon Council and mostly acting as spokesman for Brazil’s environmental policy, with a more public role than that of the Environment Minister himself.

Senator Davi Alcolumbre from Amapá, responsible for implementing the “secret budget” in the upper house, was re-elected for a second term, in another piece of good news for President Bolsonaro.

Results in the House of Representatives will become more evident in the next few days.  One of Bolsonaro’s former Health Ministers, retired General Eduardo Pazuello, is sure to get a seat to represent the state of Rio de Janeiro in Congress. 

One of Mr. Pazuello’s first actions as minister, in June 2020, was to hide the total number of Covid deaths on an official government online panel, which led Brazilian press outlets to create their own systems to count the daily numbers of infections and deaths. He was also slow to purchase enough vaccines to protect Brazilian adults.

Political violence in Brazilian election not prevalent as initially feared

Amanda Audi
Oct 02, 2022 21:34 (Updated: Oct 02, 2022 21:35)

The first round of voting registered fewer episodes of political violence than political experts foresaw. 

According to the Justice Ministry, electoral crimes were more common than actual aggressions by 8 pm today. A total of 87 cases of vote buying or electoral corruption were registered, as well as 71 violations of vote secrecy, 379 instances of illegal campaigning, and 62 cases of illegal transportation of voters. More than 500,000 security force agents were deployed.

Some attacks against electronic voting machines were also recorded, in line with a smear campaign carried out by President Jair Bolsonaro, who claimed that they can be rigged.

A man broke a ballot box with a stick in Goiânia, in Goiás state. Another man was arrested in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, after applying glue to the keys of the device and trying to prevent other people from voting. The ballots were soon replaced, the data was not lost, and the elections proceeded normally in those voting centers. 

The more violent cases took place when police officers who were guarding electoral colleges were attacked. In São Paulo, two cops were shot by yet unidentified men. In Rio Grande do Sul state, another police officer was attacked with a knife. The reasons have not yet been clarified. The agents’ health condition was reported as stable. 

In the morning, men wearing shirts with the colors of the Brazilian flag, which has become closely associated with Mr. Bolsonaro, shot at supporters of another party in a city in Bahia state. The shots hit no one, but an elderly woman was pushed and injured in the melee.

There were at least 75 cases of political violence registered during the campaign, according to a survey by the news website Agência Pública. 

At least eight cases involved firearms, and two resulted in deaths. In more than a third of cases (36 percent), the aggressors were supporters of President Bolsonaro, while 9 percent of attacks were linked to backers of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The aggressors’ political leanings were unclear in the remaining 57 percent percent of cases.

Brazil election: Lula and Bolsonaro head to runoff

TBR Newsroom
Oct 02, 2022 21:05 (Updated: Oct 02, 2022 21:06)

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who governed Brazil between 2003 and 2010, won today’s first round election against incumbent far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — but Lula didn’t obtain the margin he had hoped and the race will go to a runoff.

With over 95 percent of votes tallied, Lula had 47.66 percent of the vote. He needed to clear the 50-percent mark to avoid a runoff. Despite historical rejection rates for a president seeking re-election, Mr. Bolsonaro qualified for the runoff, posting a very competitive 43.86 percent.

It is abundantly clear that major pollsters vastly underestimated Mr. Bolsonaro’s support. The last surveys before the vote had Lula winning just over 50 percent, while the incumbent was tipped to receive a total in the mid-30 percent range.

Lula’s campaign sought to convince voters that he would be able to replicate the economic success Brazil witnessed during his time in office, when the country benefited from a commodity super-cycle.

During the Lula years, the median wealth per adult in Brazil rose by six times. Twelve years, two recessions, and a pandemic later, that wealth has been cut in half. 

Brazilians will now vote again in a runoff between Lula and President Bolsonaro set for October 30. Lula remains the favorite, but the country is set for a nailbiter, especially considering the discrepancy between polls and Mr. Bolsonaro’s vote count.

While the sample size is small, the best-voted presidential candidate in the first round has never lost in the second. Still, requiring a runoff is a disappointment to Lula and his supporters – for whom a first-round landslide seemed close to materializing.

On the eve of the vote, polls from Brazil’s two most renowned pollsters, Datafolha and Ipec, had Lula with 50 and 51 percent of voting intentions respectively.