In the Brazilian presidential election of 1989, the first direct election after the military dictatorship, the media propelled the candidacy of Fernando Collor de Mello as the leading conservative alternative. With a stunning 22 candidates, his opposition was heavily fragmented, nowhere more so than on the Brazilian left.
The most popular options were Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of the Workers’ Party, and Leonel Brizola, of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT). Both candidates, with enough votes combined to defeat Mr. Collor de Mello, refused to join forces. Lula finished second and qualified for the run-off, but was left debilitated by the first-round attacks from Mr. Brizola. Mr. Collor de Melo defeated him in the second round and became president, only to resign in the third year of his term, facing an impeachment process.