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Brazilian election first round - Expert comment from Dr Tom Long

Dr Tom Long, Assistant Professor in New Rising World Powers in the Department of Politics and International Studies, comments on the first round of Brazil's Presidential elections:

He says: "The divisive right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro scored an impressive victory in the first round of voting in Brazil's election on Sunday (7 Oct 2018), just missing the 50 percent threshold to avoid a second round. With only three weeks until the next vote, he is in a strong position. Clearly Bolsonaro has successfully claimed the anti-establishment mantle despite - or because of - a history of highly controversial positions on Brazil's past military rule and on social issues.

"The country has been mired in polarized political stagnation since the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff. The economy has started to recover gradually, but only after painful recession. Most Brazilians feel they, and their country, are worse off than at the time of the last election four years ago.

"The second place contender is Fernando Haddad of the Workers Part. Haddad is the handpicked successor of imprisoned former President Lula, himself barred from running. After a topsy-turvy race that included a candidate campaigning from a hospital bed (Bolsonaro, after a stabbing) and from a jail cell (Lula, while appealing a corruption conviction), surprises are still possible, though Bolsonaro's lead is imposing.

"What seems certain is the second round is likely to be highly polarized, with Sunday's winners representing markedly different visions of Brazil's future."

Published: 8 October 2018

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