Explaining Brazil #28: A whole new presidential campaign starts now

After the stabbing attack on Jair Bolsonaro, the presidential campaign will never be the same.

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Part 1: The attack on Jair Bolsonaro

On September 6, far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was being carried on the shoulders of his supporters, when a man stabbed him in the abdomen with a kitchen knife. At first, Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons said that the wound was superficial and that he would quickly be back to the campaign trail. But as time passed, we realized that the problem was more serious and, according to doctors, even life-threatening when he got to the hospital.

The attack on Jair Bolsonaro is the latest in a series of acts of political violence, that include the assassination of Marielle Franco, a left-wing Rio de Janeiro city councilor, and the shots fired at a campsite where former president Lula was campaigning in April. How did things get so bad, and where do we go from here?

Part 2: Fernando Haddad, the new Lula?

Many analysts said during the weekend that Mr. Bolsonaro would get “sympathy votes.” Brazilians, after all, love an underdog. On Monday, however, Datafolha – Brazil’s most prestigious polling institute – showed that Mr. Bolsonaro’s “martyr factor” didn’t help him as much as his campaign had hoped.

The new numbers show a substantial growth of Fernando Haddad’s voting intentions. Lula’s understudy, who was named the Workers’ Party true candidate on Tuesday, has risen more than any of his competitors – from 4 to 9 percent of voting intentions. Mr. Haddad has now instantly become the favorite to represent the center-left in the runoff stage.

On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Diogo Rodriguez is a journalist and social scientist. He has contributed to publications such as Folha de S. Paulo, Estado de S. Paulo, Trip, Vida Simples, Galileu, Mundo Estranho, Exame, and Vice, among others. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

This podcast was produced by Maria Martha Bruno. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

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