Power

Eyeing re-election, Bolsonaro writes checks his budget can’t cash

The Brazilian president wants to implement a series of stimulus measures ahead of the 2022 election, but these could breach federal spending caps

The Brazilian president wants to implement a series of stimulus measures ahead of the 2022 election, but these could breach federal spending caps.
Bolsonaro presents Speaker Arthur Lira with the proposal to boost cash-transfer programs. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

With flatlining approval ratings, President Jair Bolsonaro wants to pander to low-income voters in order to boost his re-election chances — which according to polls seem rather slim. A series of proposals to beef up social programs and aid initiatives are on the government’s agenda — worrying investors that an administration that promised to be radically pro-market might be on the cusp of exceeding Brazil’s budget controls.

The president has hemorrhaged political support in 2021, following the expiration of the coronavirus emergency salary scheme — which was the biggest handout program ever implemented in the country. It reduced extreme poverty levels...

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