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Lula da Silva Won, But Also Bolsonaro?

The recent Brazilian elections gave the former socialist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the winner. Lula beat current president Jair Bolsonaro by just 1%, but the victory was not complete .

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva

Photo: TW-LulaOfficial

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Ganó Lula da Silva, ¿Pero también Bolsonaro?

The Brazilians chose who will govern the next 4 years: their former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The former union leader and maximum patriarch of the Workers' Party managed to beat the president-candidate Jair Bolsonaro by a single percentage point. The slightest difference evidences a clear division of the population.

Read also: Lula against abortion: positions of the leaders of the Latin American left

Precisely, this small advantage that the elected president achieved demonstrates the great opposition that the Lula government will have and the strength that Jair Bolsonaro can represent from the shadows. If the outgoing president manages to take proper advantage of these numbers, he will be able to compete again in the next elections, just as Lula did.

Bolsonaro and the Recognition of Defeat

Despite the fact that the Superior Electoral Court ratified the victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and that a large part of the electoral community recognized the new president, Bolsonaro has not yet spoken out. The president-candidate has not yet made his defeat official, which leaves uncertainty as to the next step of Bolsonarism.

The president himself had already stated that he would not recognize his defeat, since he speculates (without proof) of an electoral fraud that sought to harm him. Despite the fact that the electronic voting used by Brazil did not have any type of complaint by the observers, the ruling party was in charge of sowing doubt in the political panorama. This is why the decision that Bolsonaro makes, either accepting his defeat or rejecting the results, can lead to a large part of the followers of the far-right leader not recognizing the Lula administration either. Something very similar to what the United States is experiencing today.

You may also be interested in: The growing tendency of Jair Bolsonaro that puts Lula da Silva at risk

The difference between the two giants of the Western Hemisphere is that in the United States, Joe Biden won executive and legislative elections; in addition to the fact that the Democratic Party controls a large part of the states. In Brazil, the legislative and regional results gave Bolsonaro as the winner.

Power in the Regions

Despite the fact that the winner of the presidential elections was Lula, Bolsonarism demonstrated its regional power. Of Brazil's 27 states, most will be in the hands of the right, leaving Lula without tacit influence in most of the Brazilian territory. Although not all of them are direct allies of Bolsonaro, they are right-wing parties that do not have great sympathy for Lula.

Precisely, the jewel in the crown, the State of São Paulo, the most populous center (46 million inhabitants) and economic engine of the country, remained in the hands of Bolsonaro. Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, Bolsonaro's former Minister of Infrastructure, won the governorship, leaving the extreme right as the main electoral force in this large territory, which has the city of São Paulo as its political center. It was not enough for the former mayor of the city and former PT candidate, Fernando Haddad, to keep this bastion of the right, but he did get a good result with 35.7% in the first round (42.32% for Freitas) and 44.73% in the second. (55.27% for Freitas).

Although Lula begins his presidency with a hostile outlook, possible future alliances may make cooperation between federal and national powers easier. More so in the states where the center-right was victorious, an alliance that Lula knew how to take advantage of in his first presidential election. A clear example is the government in the hands of the PSDB in Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul and Pernambuco.

Thus, 14 states remain in the hands of pure Bolsonaroism: São Paulo, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Tocantins, Amazonas, among others; while the PT obtained 10: Bahia, Alagoas, Espírito Santo and Paraíba; and 4 for the moderate ones (Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pernambuco, and Sergipe)

A Fragmented Congress

Despite the fact that in the national election's polarization prevented a third campaign from competing with Lula or Bolsonaro, in Congress, the traditional fragmentation was repeated. No party, by itself, achieved majorities. However, the Liberal Party of Jair Bolsonaro was the most voted in the Chamber and Senate . The extreme right movement was left with 14/81 senators and 99/513 deputies.

For its part, the PT, Lula's party, won 9/81 senators and 68/513 deputies. This is why coalitions will be vital to govern or oppose effectively. No single party will be able to pass laws, and agreements will be necessary. In this scenario, even small parties will be able to tip the scales.