Stefan Zweig says Brazil is the country of the future, and today we have to add a complex future to it. Lula did win the second round, but he only has a 1.8 percent lead over Bolsonaro. This is the first time an incumbent president has not been re-elected, and the first time since the return of democracy in 1985 that someone has been re-elected for a third term. With these minutiae, there is a scenario fraught with uncertainty, not only about what happens when a new government takes office on January 1, but over the next two months, the incoming and outgoing administrations How long will the transition process last.
First, not all Bolsonariism concedes defeat, as shown by the furious campaigns on social networks denouncing fraud or the blockade of highways by truck drivers supporting the sitting president. While the sitting president was still figuring out how to formalize election results without alienating the support of his most radical followers, police intervened to get them back into circulation. After intense pressure from his entourage (Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes and Governor of the State of São Paulo, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas), the status of the winner Nearly 48 hours after his identity was ambiguous, Bolsonaro did not explicitly acknowledge Lula’s victory or his own defeat. He simply said that despite being unfairly treated during the campaign and on Election Day, he respected the Constitution and asked his followers to reopen the lines and begin the phase of handing over power by the Minister of Civil Affairs of the House of Representatives, Ciro Nogueira, who will work with the future Vice-President Geraldo Alckmin negotiates the transition.
Bolsonaro has not had support since the vote closed on Sunday, so he has capitulated, taking no chances outside the constitution. From that moment on, some hitherto pro-government prominent leaders in his coalition decided to accept the result and bet on his future work in the opposition.
What’s more, Bolsonarismo had to contend with a barrage of congratulations to the new president and endorsements of the election’s cleanliness from high-profile international leaders such as Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen shortly after the election results were announced . This step closes many avenues of action for the loser, but it is necessary to understand how and to what extent it will facilitate the transition.
On Lula’s side, things won’t be easy, given the magnitude of the challenges ahead. First, because the first round of elections showed a cross-sector and multi-class movement, the Bolsonarismo was stronger, better organized and turned out better than expected. As more than one analyst has said, Bolsonarismo is here to stay. These good results are reflected both in the composition of the Parliament and in the distribution of territorial powers (Governors). While right-wing parties control nearly 50% of seats in both houses, the centrists have experienced severe hollowing out. For their part, 14 states, including São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, will be run by Bolsonaro supporters. Those who think they are dealing with a fleeting phenomenon that depends entirely on the charisma of the leader are dead wrong. Moreover, Bolsonarismo has the ability to exploit the weaknesses of the most conservative sector of the once powerful and hegemonic centre-right party PSDB and has become the only example able to shed light on anti-petism, linking it to conservatism and neo-Pentecostalism.
As has already been seen, anti-PT and even anti-Lula sentiment is very strong, and the refusal of the previous ruling party to engage in deep self-criticism on corruption issues only deepens and perpetuates this sentiment over time. Even Dilma Rousseff’s starring role in the election victory celebrations will do little to rebuild the next president’s ties with many of his potential followers.
The situation that the new government will have to face is not only worrisome from a political and social point of view. The Brazilian economy, despite its success in controlling inflation among other things, is not in its prime, and fiscal discipline and spending control are needed today more than ever. To govern with minimal guarantees of success and to fulfill many of his electoral promises, Lula will have to broaden the broad pro-democracy coalition that will enable him to win on Sunday, October 30, beyond the support of the most enlightened PSDB , Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s party (which played a major role in supporting Lula) or Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes.
working hard physiologyUsing a Brazilian idiom to explain how to fuel the political system so that it aligns with executive power, Lula will have to win the support of political parties, deputies and senators because center, This requires a lot of money and political status to distribute to new or renewed supporters. He even had to work to win over some groups that were openly on the political right. So, by some modest calculations, the new president will have to expand his cabinet, adding 10 or so new ministers, to meet all the demands made by partners old and new.
The composition of the cabinet is precisely one of the key issues going forward. Two appointments should be announced by now, but it’s not uncommon for them to take a few more weeks in the tense negotiations ahead. The most pressing names are those of economic and defense portfolio holders. First, deal with the turmoil in the market and send calm signals to different players. Second, to silence the noise from some military camps and to realign the excessive role of the military during the coming to an end of the government.
A recurring problem with Lula’s victory is that it cemented the idea of a Latin American turn left, or new pink tide. It even insists that, from now on, the five largest economies in the region (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile) will be governed by progressive (or leftist) presidents.
There are two issues to keep in mind. First, we are at a moment characterized by voting against officialism, more to the left than before, known as “vote rage”. The opposition has won 14 of the last 15 presidential elections in Latin America. The only exception is Nicaragua, for reasons that have nothing to do with the functioning of the democratic system. As Andrés Malamud said, «It’s not just ideology, but boredom is king».
Second, if we only look at the color of the president’s shirt, we only get half of what’s going on. To avoid this, it is important to pay attention to the composition of the parliament, to the alliances with the center and even the right that these progressive presidents must build. We also have to keep an eye on the number of votes that win the run-off, which will eventually happen, and even at a critical and difficult time like the present one, and on the public policies pursued by different governments.
In Colombia, Gustavo Petro is in power with support from the center (the Liberals) and the right (the Conservatives). In Chile, after Gabriel Boric rejected constitutional reform in an exit referendum, he used characters from the old Concertación to do it. Everything shows that Lula’s next presidential administration needs to seek the support of the centrist and center-right parties.
There is also hope that his victory will reboot and strengthen the continental left, beyond its deep divisions and give it wings to win the next election. Argentina is an extreme example, as evidenced by the accelerated visit of Alberto Fernandez. However, Brazil’s complex situation demands most of the new president’s attention, leaving little time and energy to devote to diplomatic-political ventures such as restarting Unasur.It may seem a little too much to think that Lula will be able to give Latin American progressivism a voice delusion.
Finally there is the relationship with the EU. Lula has said he wants to rebuild relations with Brussels. The little bit he points out in his environmental policy has increased Marina Silva’s support, which is a positive sign. The underlying question, however, is how much the new government can do to curb deforestation in the Amazon or invest in fighting climate change. The Treaty of Association between Mercosur and the European Union was also ratified. While Lula is in favor of Mercosur’s repositioning, he and former foreign minister Celso Amorim have both said they are in favor of restarting negotiations, which the EU has rejected, at least for now, and are in no rush to ratify the deal. .
In Brussels, there are many expectations for a re-enactment of deep ties with Latin America, an attempt to make up for lost time and China’s won status. Therefore, high hopes are placed on the next EU-CELAC summit. Brazil is likely to be reintegrated into CELAC thanks to Lula’s initiative, which will be very important. However, given its sheer nationalism and strong protectionism, one should not get carried away by inflated optimism and forget the terms of the new government and the fundamentals of Brazil’s foreign policy.