Brazil: What are the possible scenarios for the 2018 elections?

With Lula Da Silva imprisoned, the panorama points to complex judicial processes, protests, and the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, the "Brazilian Trump"

Brazil: What are the possible scenarios for the 2018 elections?

Three months before the Brazilian presidential elections, the polls place Lula Da Silva as the favorite candidate. He has a 32.4% intention to vote even though he is serving a 12-year sentence for passive corruption and money laundering. With Lula disqualified, the most popular in the polls would be the far-right Jair Bolsonaro with 18.3% support, followed by the activist and former senator Marina Silva with 11.2%, and in third place would be the former governor of the State of Ceará, Ciro Gómez, with 9%, according to data from the MDA institute.

Leer en español: Brasil: ¿Cuáles son los posibles escenarios para las elecciones del 2018?

It is necessary to remember that the official list of candidates for the presidency of Brazil will be finalized on August 15. Until then, Lula will be waiting for appeals from the Superior Electoral Tribunal about his participation in the presidential candidacy, even if it is technically disabled by law. In case they do not release Lula, these are the possible scenarios that could take place during the next months in Brazil:

Complex judicial processes

The Lula controversy is divided between those who claim that their incarceration was part of a political game, and those who agree with Bolsonaro's aggressive campaign slogan, "Good bandit is the dead bandit." Recently, deputies from the Workers' Party (PT) asked for a Habeas Corpus, a legal institution that seeks to avoid unjustified or arbitrary detentions and that can release the accused immediately if they do not present sufficient evidence for arrest.

The petition triggered a judicial war between Judge Rogério Favreto, who processed the request for release, and Judge Gebran Neto, who insisted that Lula should remain behind bars. Favreto gave a deadline for the Federal Police to release the political leader, an ultimatum that they did not comply with. In view of this, the president of the court, Thompson Flores annulled the order of liberation of Favreto because Sergio Moro is the one who takes the Lava Jato case, in which they accuse Lula of corruption even though there is no clear evidence to incriminate him.

The defense of the political leader has presented up to now 78 appeals for amparo to secure his release, all rejected. "In the case that Lula Da Silva registers his candidacy, the Public Electoral Ministry must submit a request for a challenge based on the fact that said candidacy is contrary to the Clean Record Act," says an article in the digital newspaper Infobae. The law, proposed by Lula Da Silva himself, determines that no person with a final judgment can be a presidential candidate.


After a glimpse of hope with the Habeas Corpus, a night vigil spontaneously arose to show support for Lula Da Silva while waiting for the final decision of the court. The largest demonstrations continued in cities such as Sao Bernardo do Campo, in Sao Paulo; Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and in Brasilia in front of the Federal Supreme Court. Those who oppose the release of the former president also protested, although to a lesser extent.

"We have to have demonstrations in all parts of the country, in front of the Federal Justice, to confront the public institutions for the liberation of Lula and for the hope of a people that is tired of paying unequal accounts, tired of unemployment", pronounced Gleisi Hoffmann, president of the Workers' Party.

In the same way, the Brazilian lawyer Ney Strozake called the mobilizations in the street in favor of the liberation of Lula Da Silva. "Popular pressure is the only way out of the State of Exception. Gebran's decision confirms once again that Lula is a political prisoner. And under the circumstances, the only way out is the town on the street. The only guarantee of Lula's freedom is popular mobilization", Strozake said before the court decision.

Jair Bolsonaro, the "Brazilian Trump"

The next in the polls is the deputy and former ultra-rightist military Jair Bolsonaro, whom they call the "Brazilian Trump" for highly racist, homophobic and sexist comments. The candidate Bolsonaro of the Social Christian Party (PSC) has had to pay fines for his offensive comments. He paid 50,000 reais (more than $ 16,000) for saying that "black Quilombolas no longer serve or procreate". Quilombolas are called the procreators of quilombos, a community protected because they are descendants of ex-African-American slaves freed or fled. Previously he was also tried and punished with a fine of 10,000 reais (more than $ 3,000) for having told Maria do Rosário, a member of the Workers' Party, that "she did not deserve to be raped" because she is "very ugly".

Despite the inadequate comments, Bolsonaro remains above the other parties with an aggressive campaign against crime and moving away from the left model. "We do not want to go the same way as Cuba or Venezuela and be all equal in misery," said the candidate. With Lula Da Silva out of the game, there remains a political vacuum that is difficult to fill, an atmosphere of uncertainty in the face of the elections and a distrust of the Brazilian judicial system for the followers of Lula, as the PT has stated since the incarceration of the former president.


Latin American Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio

Translated from "Brasil: ¿Cuáles son los posibles escenarios para las elecciones del 2018?"


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