With Lula set to win Brazil’s election, there are fears Bolsonaro may seek to cling to power
Please read below the Brazil Solidarity Initiative’s urgent statement on the defence of Brazilian democracy and the electoral system in the face of growing political violence and threats of a far-right powergrab from Bolsonaro. The election takes place today (October 2nd.)
On Sunday 2 October, over 150 million Brazilian voters will elect the next president of one of the world’s largest democracies. The choice is between the far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and progressive candidate Lula da Silva.
Polls show Lula has a strong lead in the polls and is on track to pass the 50% threshold needed to be elected in the first round.
Lula previously served as Brazil’s president after being elected as the country’s first working class leader earlier this century. When he left office in 2011 he had record-high approval ratings of 83 percent, the result of his government’s success in reducing poverty and addressing social inequality,
Lula was favourite to win the 2018 Presidential election until he was arrested and jailed on trumped-up charges orchestrated by powerful elites in Brazil and Washington.
That injustice opened the door to the election of Jair Bolsonaro, a strong supporter of Brazil’s past military dictatorship and under which he had served as a military officer.
In office, Bolsonaro has repeatedly undermined Brazil’s democracy and trampled on the rights of women, LGBT, Black & Indigenous communities and environmental activists.
The run-up to this Sunday’s Presidential election has been no different. Bolsonaro and his cabinet ministers, nearly half of whom are military generals, have baselessly sought to bring into question the integrity of the election process. They have suggested that the military should have a greater role in overseeing the election and have threatened to reject the results if Bolsonaro loses. Bolsonaro even told supporters that “If necessary, we will go to war” over the election results. While his son has called on the growing number of Brazilian gun-holders to become “Bolsonaro volunteers”.
Threats and a climate of hate whipped up by Bolsonaro and his allies have created a context of rising political violence against supporters of Lula Da Silva. There has been the killing of Lula supporters and Worker’s Party officials and attacks on pro-Lula marches.
We call on all progressives to be alert to the threats posed by Jair Bolsonaro to Brazil’s democracy and any attempts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. We call on the UK Government to speak out against any efforts to incite political violence and undermine the electoral process and to review relations with any Brazilian government that comes to power through undemocratic means.