Brazil to vote today, the challenge between Bolsonaro and Lula

But the more than 150 million Brazilians also vote for Congress and governors

Today, Sunday 2 October, over 150 million Brazilians are called to vote not only for the presidential elections, with the duel between the incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro and the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for the renewal of the Congress, with the 513 deputies of the Chamber and 81 members of the Senate. Elections will also take place in the 27 territories that make up Brazil, for both governors and legislative bodies.

In Brazil, voting is mandatory for literate citizens – 10% of Brazilians are still illiterate – of majority age, with full legal capacity, but it is optional between the ages of 16 and 18 and after the age of 70. In the first round of 2018 l turnout was 80%. Anyone who does not go to the polls risks a fine. Elections in Brazil are always held on the first Sunday of October, and for the presidential elections, and the elections of governors, the ballot, necessary if no candidate reaches 50%, is scheduled for the last Sunday, this year on October 30. .

Although the focus is obviously all on the Lula-Bolsonaro duel, there are nine other presidential candidates in the running, including former minister Ciro Gomes and senator Simone Tebet, although none appear to have the numbers in the polls to constitute an alternative to two main challengers.

Brazil uses an electronic voting system – the one on which Bolsonaro has been raising doubts and preliminary accusations of possible fraud for months – and therefore it is expected that the results of the first round of the presidential elections will be known within hours after the closing of the polls on Sunday evening. While the start of the new presidential term is scheduled for January 1, 2023. The inauguration of the new Congress will also take place next year, with the current legislature ending on January 31.


Three years ago, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whom Barack Obama called “the most popular president in the world”, was serving a 12-year sentence for corruption in a Brazilian cell. But now, with the polls that give him a step away from returning to the Palacio do Planalto – perhaps already with the vote on Sunday, without the ballot of October 30 – the political redemption of the icon of the Latin American left is completed, and not only , after his release in 2019, after 580 days of detention, and the overturning of the sentences of the Supreme Court in 2021.

President already for two terms between 2003 and 2011, the 76-year-old leader of the Partido dos Trabalhadores in his electoral campaign hinged heavily on nostalgia for prosperity and the enormous economic growth, also favored by economic factors such as the price boom of raw materials exported from Brazil, lived during his presidency.

And although practically all observers agree that Lula will have difficulty, in a drastically changed scenario and a country in recession, to replicate those successes, when during the rallies Lula – as he is affectionately called by everyone in Brazil, using the nickname that was given as a child and then, having become his nom de guerre in the years of the union lottery, from 1982 he had officially inserted in the name – attacks the classism, the racism of the politics of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, to many it seems that the time has stopped.

“People do not choose to be poor, we want to work, we want to eat well, we want our children to have clothes, shoes and three meals a day”, is one of the passages of a meeting by Lula that was born in October 1945 in a poor family in the north east of the country, in Caetes in the state of Pernambuco, he left his studies at the age of 12 starting to work as a shoe shine and street salesman to help his mother and her seven brothers.


Nicknamed the “tropical Trump” in 2018 when he won the presidency, 62-year-old MP, of Italian origin, ultra-conservative, former army captain, unrepentant fan of the military dictatorship, with extreme political incorrectness as his banner, Jair Bolsonaro will be found in the next days to follow his political inspiration to the end. Faced with polls that describe his almost certain defeat, perhaps already in today’s first round, the Brazilian president has in fact been insisting for months on the accusations, preventive – just as Trump did in 2020 – of electoral fraud and fraud, mainly focused on electronic voting .

“The system is completely vulnerable,” says Bolsonaro, without providing, also following the example of the tycoon, concrete evidence. “We cannot have dubious elections in 2022, a public count is necessary”, said Bolsonaro, who also questioned the fairness and impartiality of the polls. “The people want our government to continue, these polls mean nothing”, he added, claiming the crowds of adoring fans, in green gold jersey by order, at his rallies, arguing that otherwise “something strange will have happened. “.

Words that raise fears that in the event of defeat, Bolsonaro will denounce fraud and contest the results. Meanwhile, in recent weeks the endorsement of the former US president has arrived: “the Trump Tropical as he is affectionately called did an extraordinary job for the wonderful people of Brazil – he wrote in Truth – when I was president, there was no another leader who called me more than Jair. ”

Electoral rhetoric aside, this campaign by the far-right president who – apart from the charismatic popularity of the challenger, the champion of the Brazilian left and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – has been all uphill presents for re-election promising the same hyper-liberal policies that in these four years have not served to revive the Brazilian economy

With a popularity of just 29%, Bolsonaro sees in his main opponents young people, students, unemployed, blacks, women, gays, – the latter groups frequent targets of his incredible utterances, one for all “better a dead son than gay” – but he can count on the very important support of the ultra-conservative evangelical community, to which his wife Michelle also belongs.

A support that counts since a third of Brazilians are evangelicals, according to Datafolha, 70% of whom in 2018 voted for Bolsonaro who then entrusted important ministerial posts to evangelical exponents, also appointing an evangelical Supreme Court judge.

Exponent of the most conservative sectors of the country – who arrived at the electoral appointment four years ago strengthened by the anti-corruption protests that led to the impeachment and dismissal of Dilma Rousseff in 2016, and to the investigations that culminated with the arrest of Lula – l ‘former Army captain, federal deputy elected consecutively in Rio de Jainero since 1991 with several right-wing parties, Bolsonaro won the 2018 elections, in the complicated and tense context determined by the arrest, which took place in April in the middle of the election campaign, of Lula.