Power

Left wing has no response to Bolsonaro’s popularity surge in poor areas

Bolsonaro is gaining popularity in Brazil's Northeast — seen as the last bastion of support for the center-left Workers' Party, which is struggling to fight back

lula speaks to supporters
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during event with supporters, in January 2020. Photo: Paulo Pinto/FP

Though his administration was plagued with multiple corruption scandals, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva remains one of Brazil’s most popular politicians. His detractors claimed his support was a byproduct of wealth transfer policies, which they dismiss as ‘cash-for-votes’ schemes. Lula’s followers, on the other hand, claim this evaluation is classist and argue his popularity is down to an ensemble of progressive policies, particularly in Brazil’s poor Northeast — the only region of the country where Jair Bolsonaro lost in the 2018 election.

Now, however, Mr. Bolsonaro’s popularity is on the rise in the Northeast, according to several opinion...

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