Power

Brazilian elections: why 2020 wasn’t like 2018

The conservative wave of the 2018 general elections broke in this weekend's vote, with the moderate right-wing making the largest gains

elections Supreme Court Justices Edson Fachin (left) and Luís Roberto Barroso presided over the 2018 elections. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
Supreme Court Justices Edson Fachin (left) and Luís Roberto Barroso presided over the 2018 elections. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

In 2018, a far-right wave swept over Brazilian politics — spearheaded by the landslide win of Jair Bolsonaro in the presidency. It was an election of extremes, and anti-politics. Many states elected newcomers as governors and Congress saw its highest renewal rate in two decades. However, just as the massive Operation Car Wash anti-corruption probe did not fundamentally change how parties finance their campaigns — with scandals continuing to sprout across the country — Mr. Bolsonaro’s triumph was not a deadly blow to the political establishment.

Center-right parties regained their protagonism in municipal elections, either by re-electing mayors or...

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