Explaining Brazil #192: Brazilian ‘third way’ crashes and burns

Unpopular politicians, no unifying candidate, and erratic moves have scuppered the chances of Brazil's democratic right in the 2022 election

The three main names of the so-called “third way” are, from right to left, former judge Sergio Moro, former São Paulo Governor João Doria, and former lawmaker Ciro Gomes. All of them have burnt bridges with forces across the political spectrum. Their moves lead the electorate to see them more as mavericks than credible presidential options.

Last week, a series of twists and turns essentially confirmed the implosion of the Brazilian third way – and settled the race as being between President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:

Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Deezer


  • Amanda Audi is a Brasília correspondent for The Brazilian Report. She is the former executive director of Congresso em Foco and worked as a reporter for The Intercept Brasil, Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, Gazeta do Povo, and Poder360, among others. In 2019, she won the Comunique-se Award for best written media reporter and won the Mulher Imprensa award for web journalism in 2020.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: D8QYRDIML3BGCZ5C, E8WORDV1GXENC7YW.

Background reading:

  • With two high-profile conservatives — João Doria and Sergio Moro — making erratic moves, the 2022 election is set to become a shootout between Lula and Jair Bolsonaro.
  • The Ipespe institute today published its first presidential poll since former Justice Minister Sergio Moro exited the race. As we predicted last week, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been the early winner from the conservative former judge’s absence, jumping from 26 to 30 percent of voting intentions, while center-left former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has remained on 44 percent.
  • Former São Paulo Governor João Doria has been set on running for president ever since he entered politics in 2016. However, while he has plenty going for him, voters are not impressed — and politicians see him as an opportunist prone to betrayal.
  • Bolsonaro is threatening to disregard Supreme Court rulings from now on. So how should the political system react to a president who doesn’t want to play by the rules?

Do you have a suggestion for our next Explaining Brazil podcast? Drop us a line at [email protected]

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.