This Is How the Second Round of Brasil’s Elections Will Be Defined

With regard to the close first round in the Brazilian election, we analyze the scenarios for the second round where nothing is defined .

Bolsonaro and Lula

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LatinAmerican Post | Luis Ángel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: Así se definirá la segunda vuelta en las presidenciales de Brasil

On October 2, Brazilians went to the polls for their general elections in which the president of the republic, governors, deputies and senators are elected. Of course, the focus is on the presidential election, where Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva revalidated the numbers thrown in the polls with 48.4% and 43.2% respectively , however, the result was closer than expected, which has transformed notably the panorama for the ballot, which so far has not been defined for either of the two nation projects.

Bolsonaro achieved his goal

Until mid-August the gap between Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro was almost 10 percentage points, it seemed that the former president could at some point get the final 50% that would end the battle immediately. However, although Bolsonaro did not grow in numbers, Lula did not reach the desired number that would guarantee him victory in the first round. By October 2, two scenarios seemed beneficial for da Silva: the first would be to win the first round with the same advantage that the polls showed, that is, to maintain the advantage that would allow him to almost ensure victory for the second round. The second scenario was obviously to get the direct victory with 50%. For his part, Bolsonaro had only one useful scenario: prevent Lula from reaching 50% and leave everything for the second round.

This scenario was what happened and with an additional advantage for the current president: the gap with Lula was closer than the polls showed, and although it is not a tie, it is a ray of hope for the Brazilian right that until recently a few weeks seemed defeated. With the political moment in his favor, Bolsonaro will seek to snatch victory from Lula da Silva, something that in reality does not seem impossible. No poll can dare to define a clear winner, at least three weeks before the ballot, these days will be crucial to know if the gap opens or becomes a tie that will have Brazil in check, where two projects from the left and from radically different right wing will have the responsibility to lift the largest economy of the sub-region from its slumber.

Will Tebet and Gomes tip the balance?

Another surprise of the presidential election occurred between the third and fourth places, the polls showed Ciro Gomes, of the Democratic Labor Party (PDT), above Simone Tebet of the Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (MDB), but in reality they exchanged positions. Tebet came in third place with 4.16% while Gomes came in fourth with 3.04% of the vote. The rest of the candidates barely exceeded 1% overall. The role of Tebet and Gomes was already important before the election, before a possible second round their responsibility was to close ranks with one or another candidate to define the winner. With a very closed gap between Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva, its importance is more decisive than ever, throughout the campaign the position of the candidates and their parties was variable when talking about the second round. The PDT was at times reluctant to support Lula da Silva, despite the fact that he is the one with whom it is closest ideologically, in addition to the fact that Ciro Gomes was a minister during the government of former president da Silva. However, to avoid a second Bolsonaro government, the PDT has already formally announced its support for former President Lula, something that gives oxygen to his campaign and an already expected blow to Bolsonaro's.

Simone Tebet comes from the party of former president Michel Temer, a critic of Lula da Silva and who governed Brazil after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. In other circumstances, support for Lula would be conditional and would be much more critical. However, Tebet's feminist and environmentalist profile has generated an automatic rejection on her part towards Jair Bolsonaro. Tebet considers Bolsonaro someone misogynist and contrary to democratic values and protection of the environment, so he has also formally expressed his support for Lula da Silva's candidacy. This second blow to Bolsonaro's aspirations could be the one that defines the election, although in reality the percentages are not simply added, it could be enough to overcome the current president's project.

You can also read: Regional Elections in Peru: an Omen of the Departure of Pedro Castillo

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Lula and Bolsonaro have practically divided Brazil into two halves, the north for the former president and the south for the president. Da Silva also won in Minas Gerais, a key state for the victories of Brazilian presidents, a good omen for the former president. If the third- and fourth-place support for Lula's candidacy seemed like a decisive blow to Bolsonaro, the gubernatorial election appears to be a resounding blow to Lula. Of the 27 states that elected governor, Bolsonaro's right has won 9 victories to Lula's just 5, while Minas Gerais was won by the liberal NOVO party. The other 12 states are yet to be defined in the ballot, with apparent victories for Bolsonarism.

To close the blow to Lula, the chambers will have benches with a majority from the right: the chamber of deputies will have 96 of 513 seats sympathetic to Bolsonaro, and the chamber of senators, 14 of 81. Although they seem to be small benches, the chambers in Brazil have numerous parties that share the seats, unlike other systems with larger benches. Finally, the blank, null and abstention votes that totaled almost 5.4 million votes in the first round cannot be left out , almost the same number achieved by Simone Tebet. If they become "useful votes" they could also have an impact on the election, beyond the support already achieved by Lula. A few weeks before the ballot, nothing is written.

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