Municipal elections highlight challenges facing Brazil’s left-wing

The center-left Workers' Party — has suffered a series of electoral defeats. As municipal votes approach, it still struggles to recover

brazil left municipal elections coronavirus
The sluggish candidacy of Jilmar Tatto in São Paulo is a testament to the Workers’ Party’s struggles. Photo: Filipe Araújo/FP

In the municipal elections of 2016, the Brazilian left suffered its most significant defeat since the turn of the century. The Workers’ Party — Brazil’s best-structured political group — was inevitably the face of the debacle, losing 60 percent of its mayoral offices, shrinking from being the country’s third-largest party in municipal terms to being the tenth, reverting to where it was before former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva initiated the party’s four-election winning streak, between 2002 and 2014.

This poor run of form continued in 2018. Besides losing the presidential election to Jair Bolsonaro — who won in...

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