Brazil can be seen as a country which has a political system that is Democratic compared to most Latin American countries and where its elections are based on competition. But the presidential election in Brazil, especially in 2018, has been controversial. With the right-wing government, many of the hoped-for things in the country have unfortunately not materialized. The country’s economic crisis is still ongoing and many human rights violations are taking place. Therefore, the throne of President Jair Bolsonaro, who leads in the 2018 elections, is also likely to swing in next year’s presidential elections. The president, therefore, has many concerns for his future. (BBC, 2021)

Government Problems Since the 2018 Election

The 2018 presidential election is a bombshell development in Brazil’s political history. Brazil switched from far-left power to right-wing power with this election. Bolsonaro, who was elected as the new president after winning the election with a majority of more than 50 percent of the vote, has been called “Tropical Trump” since 2018. Of course, while there are many differences between the two political figures, their populist rhetoric, decadence, and nationalist attitudes make Bolsonaro similar to former US President Trump. Many anti-Bolsonaro critics describe the country’s president as a racist, misogynist, homophobic and militaristic. (Setzler, 2021: 15)

Brazil, which received its share of military coups that Latin American countries could not get away with, faced a military coup in 1964. After this year, the country began to be ruled by a dictatorship. During his years in Congress before becoming a presidential candidate, President Bolsonaro defended the dictatorial regime and stated that he justified the torture of dissidents at that time. In addition, the president’s tendencies to humiliate non-white Brazilians and sexual minorities have provoked a segment of the country since he was not President. But the public’s economic concerns and the political ideologies they support, like nationalism, maybe the reasons behind the 2018 victory of Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate Bolsonaro. However, after the election, there were concerns that Bolsonaro would not hesitate to violate human rights. (Setzler, 2021: 15)

Another reason for the election of Bolsonaro’s right-wing government in Brazil, which is grappling with an economic crisis, is businesspeople who do not want their order to be broken. The president, who took office in January 2019, appointed the businessman Paulo Guedes to take economic decisions. Unfortunately, Bolsonaro, with whom the public has hopes, has not made much progress in terms of fixing the economic crisis. (BBC, 2019) It is also revealed that Bolsonaro, after winning the election, failed to keep his promises to clean up the government from corruption, streamline the law, and initiate economic recovery. According to many critics, the discriminatory and divisive attitude that the president already has is an obstacle to the slightest recovery of the country. The reason for this is that people who are already struggling with economic problems are being dragged into a cultural conflict with the new government. Bolsonaro is concerned about the possibility that this government, which is laying the groundwork for destroying an environment of public tolerance, will be replaced by another leader in the 2022 elections. (MacDonald, 2020)

Bolsonaro’s polarizing attitude is important not only within the country but also in international politics. The president, who has previously pointed out his resemblance to Trump, is not shy about standing by the United States in global politics. Bolsonaro’s contempt for Argentina’s leftist government, ignoring other states in Latin America, is also an indicator of polarizing decency. Alberto Fernández, the Peronist president of Argentina, was called “leftist scum” by Bolsonaro. In addition to this attitude, Bolsonaro’s willingness to restore nostalgia for the military rule is one of the concerns for the country’s future. As mentioned earlier, in Brazil, military dictators rule in 1964 and lasted 21 years. The military rule ensured political stability and the economic recovery of the country, but this does not make people forget the human rights violations taken place during this period. There are also many murder charges involving the military administration, which intends to suppress the left-wing segment through torture and oppression. There is also a group that likens Bolsonaro’s authoritarian stance to Hungary’s Victor Orban and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Despite everything, in the Brazilian political structure, Bolsonaro’s attempt to legislate is not so easy. Brazil’s legislature has considerable power. For this reason, any political initiative passes through congress and is decided not very quickly. Another goal of Bolsonaro, therefore, is to surround him with allies, ensuring a majority in Congress. (MacDonald, 2020)

After the election, Bolsonaro’s popularity was damaged by a corruption investigation launched into his sons in 2020. One of his two older sons, Senator of Rio de Janeiro, Flávio, has been investigated for money laundering. According to state prosecutors, Flávio made incomplete or excessive billing in real estate sales. Bolsonaro’s image, which portrays him as an anti-corruption fighter, has been thoroughly damaged by these events. Bolsonaro, who has accused prosecutors and political figures, claimed a conspiracy was orchestrated against him by using his sons. (BBC, 2020)

Another incident that attracted Bolsonaro’s reaction was the indifference to the Amazon forests by the government and the deliberate weakening of environmental laws. These initiatives have drawn reaction from both the international community and the Brazilian public. But the fires started by a group of Bolsonaro supporters in and around the Amazon jungle were shocking. The people who set the fire were supporting Bolsonaro’s attempt to open more grassland. This event, which took place in 2019, was declared ‘10th August Fire Day’ by government supporters. Although the country’s wildfires have drawn reactions on the international agenda, President Bolsonaro stressed that his country’s sovereignty must not be damaged. In addition, Brazil’s NGOs were also accused by the president for failing to show sufficient evidence, while activists were not allowed to intervene in the incident. (MacDonald, 2020)

Will Bolsonaro’s Government Go in 2022 Elections ?

In his remarks in August 2021, Bolsonaro expressed concerns about the election ahead of him. According to the president’s observations, he will unfortunately have three years before him; he will either be re-elected, arrested, or killed by opponents of the government. The release of former President Lula Da Silva, who is in jail in 2020, had already raised Bolsonaro’s concerns. Because with the releasing of Lula Da Silva, it would be easier for anti-Bolsonaro groups to unite. (BBC, 2021)

President Bolsonaro was nearly stabbed in the 2018 election. Despite this, he did not stop reacting recently with the words “No Man in the world can threaten me”. In addition, according to the president, the country’s electronic electoral method is also problematic. Bolsonaro is already critical of the electoral system and says he may not accept the election results next year. But according to the electoral court, there is no problem with the electoral system. Despite this, Bolsonaro said in August that he would not back down from his criticism. (BBC, 2021)

The coronavirus had also left major harm to the country, which was already grappling with economic problems. The country is also struggling to combat inflation, hunger, and high unemployment rates. In August, locals, consisting of 150 people, began protests in front of the Presidential Building. Allegations of corruption directed at the country’s president, attempts by the government to support only one segment in the country, the failure of the promised economic recovery, may all indicate that Bolsonaro’s government will go in the 2022 elections under democratic conditions. (BBC, 2021)

Prepared by Gökçen Hardal for The FEAS Journal.


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