Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva speaks at a press conference on October 8, 2021, in Brasilia.UESLEI MARCELINO (REUTERS)
There are just over nine months left for the presidential elections in Brazil which, according to all political analysts, are announced as the most dramatic and with the greatest unknowns since the dictatorship.
Already in the first poll of this year, that of Quaest Genial, former president Lula da Silva appears with 45% of the votes against 23% for Bolsonaro.
He is followed only by the former Lava Jato judge, Sérgio Moro, with 9%.
The president of the extreme right has felt the blow and has immediately reacted.
"They want to elect the corrupt," said Jair Bolsonaro sarcastically, and again attacked the Supreme Court justices who, according to him, have already decided that Lula wins the lawsuit.
As Bolsonaro is not willing to accept defeat, he is confident that if Lula wins, he will have his own.
The most fanatical group that corresponds to 15% of the electorate, along with some of the police forces and even the Army, would be at his side in the event of an uprising that he is already fueling.
The first sign has been the announcement of a salary increase for the police forces, which has already provoked the threat of a general strike of the other categories of civil servants at a critical moment in which inflation has skyrocketed and increased unemployment.
All this explains Lula's silence, who for now sees the bulls from the sidelines and has not even officially announced his candidacy, despite the fact that all the polls –without exception– grant him victory by a large margin of difference.
Lula, in fact, has not yet appeared in public at any of the demonstrations against Bolsonaro, and is working behind the scenes to prepare his government program and the alliances he will need in order to have enough votes in Congress.
That is why he is trying to build bridges with politicians not only with the left, but also with the center, even against the will of some of the most radical leaders of his party.
Some within the PT do not see this maneuver with good eyes and would prefer a government exclusively with the forces of the left.
Knowing, however, the games of politics like few others, Lula is proving to be aware of the difficulties involved in confronting Bolsonaro.
And walk with lead feet.
Before, he needed to rely on conservative parties to have a majority in Congress.
Lula knows very well that, even if he wins the elections, the president will do everything possible to try to annul them, making use of an uprising if necessary. The question remains for the military, who, although they seem divided in front of him, do not want Lula to win either.
It cannot be forgotten that Bolsonaro has placed more than 6,000 soldiers in the Government and in State institutions.
Hence his litany that the ballot boxes (which have been used in Brazil for years without anyone ever challenging the results of the elections) are not reliable and his intention to return to the written vote, something that even Congress has denied him.
Lula knows that, given the current political environment, it will not be enough for him to win the elections by a reasonable margin. He will need, even against the outside, to win by a landslide, to settle the dispute in the first round as several polls announce. Thus, any attempt to challenge the elections will be more difficult. Lula is obliged not to step on the accelerator ahead of time and to anticipate all the possible maneuvers, legal or illegal, of a president who will not hesitate to do the impossible to remain in power. Taking care of every step, it is said that Lula would already be in dialogue with the Armed Forces to reassure them in the event that he returns to power.
Bolsonaro has understood that he is losing votes as inflation soars and the economy weakens, and he has returned to attack governors and mayors in his morning talks with a handful of the faithful. The president blames them for the economic crisis because, during the pandemic and supported by the Supreme Court, they took measures to prevent the spread of the virus. According to Bolsonaro, this broke the country's economy. "Cowards and faggots," he called those who obeyed science and prevention regulations against the pandemic that has already left 630,000 fatalities in the country.
Another example that we are facing unprecedented elections is the fact that the PT acts prudently with the departures of its leader. I think they fear a possible attempt on their lives, especially in the cities of Bolsonarism. At the same time, the murky story of the failed attack on Bolsonaro in the middle of the 2018 campaign has been resurrected, which prevented him from facing debates with the other candidates and created an aura for him, especially from evangelicals, that God had saved his life, which contributed to his mythologization and his victory.
The matter had been shelved because the investigation revealed that the knife to Bolsonaro during a street rally was the work of a man suffering from mental disorders who ended up acquitted and admitted to an insane asylum. Now Bolsonaro has wanted, however, to dust off that failed attack by opening a new police investigation and has even revealed to his followers that “an important character could appear” behind the attack, alluding that the left could be the perpetrator of the crime.
Everything suggests, in fact, that we are facing atypical elections whose end is difficult to guess, since Bolsonaro does not seem resigned to leaving power and less in the hands of his great enemy.
It should not be forgotten that Bolsonaro has always defended the military dictatorship and complains that they would not have killed at least "30,000 more people" then.
He went so far as to say that it was not worth wasting time torturing leftists, but that it would have been preferable to simply kill them.
With all these preliminaries, the fear of economists is that the climate of political violence that hangs over the elections could aggravate even more, if possible, the most sacrificed classes whom the skyrocketing inflation, especially of food and fuel, makes grow the discredit of politics as a whole.
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