Brazil: Lula is playing the card of economic realism against Bolsonaro

Brazil: Lula is playing the card of economic realism against Bolsonaro

A real disappointment. Intoxicated by the polls that put their champion up to 15 points clear, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s supporters did not hide their disappointment on the night of the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections on October 2nd. Lula takes first place with 48.4% of the vote, but is just over five points (43.2%), or six million out of 123 million votes cast, ahead of his opponent, current President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s defiance, much as he was criticized for his handling of Covid, the economy and the environment, surprised all observers of Brazilian political life. Still, Lula is in the lead and optimistic about the month of campaigning, which begins through Oct. 30, the date of the second round. “It’s just an extension,” he said.

However, he has to face the attacks of Bolsonaro, who has already tried to attack during the campaign of WW1is to rekindle old fears about the very radical side of the former union leader. Lula is “a demon trying to impose communism on Brazil,” he said. Even twenty years ago, when he was running for the presidency, “it looked like a meteor would hit Brazil,” recalls economist Persio Arida. The markets had demonized Lula, and the former Labor Party leader had to write an open letter to the Brazilian people, promising not to do anything reckless in the event of victory. Once elected, “the meteor vanished,” Persio Arida recalls. Lula displayed great fiscal prudence during his first term. Re-elected in 2006, he used the cash flow from raw materials to help the poorest. His policies were at times ineffective and he swelled the Brazilian bureaucracy. But he didn’t act recklessly or radically.


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