“Brazil’s coalition presidential system will be tested like never before. The partisan mainstream that oriented the political system has been shattered,” said political scientist Sérgio Abranches on Sunday, as exit polls showed the right-wing tsunami that swept Brazil. “The Workers’ Party suffers an iconic defeat and gets confined to the Northeast. The results point to a realignment of forces in Congress – with several medium-sized parties but no big party in the House. The new president, whoever he is, will need a broad and heterogeneous coalition – and his fate will rely on his relationship with his new allies,” he said.
Analysts, pundits, and academics are having a hard time explaining why a seemingly absurd campaign such as Jair Bolsonaro’s has managed to gain traction and get almost 50 million votes in Brazil’s elections. Although it is still early to properly explain this extreme-right phenomenon, one thing is certain: the errors committed by two of Brazil’s most important parties since the 1985 democratization helped lay the foundations for the 2018 elections.