Brazil’s Next President: If Not Lula, Then Who?

The current president of Brazil, Michel Temer, has said he will not run for reelection in 2018. This is a smart move for Temer, and any other politician with approval ratings around 10 percent. Meanwhile, Workers’ Party member and former president Luiz Inacio “Lula” Da Silva holds an almost insurmountable lead in recent polling with about 36 percent support compared to 18 percent support for the candidate in second place. If Lula is able to run, he will easily regain the presidency. He holds strong support despite many charges of corruption and a 12-month prison sentence (for allegedly accepting a beachfront house as a bribe). He is still hoping to run in the election, but because his appeal was recently denied it is unlikely that the electoral court will allow his candidacy. This begs the question: If Lula can’t run, who will be the next president of Brazil?

The candidate who received 18 percent support is Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate from the Social Christian Party. He strongly believes in the rule of law and has even been a proponent of military regimes. Mr. Bolsonaro is known for making provocative statements about minorities. While not a perfect candidate, his policies would most likely provide a boost for Brazilian businesses, similar to what President Trump’s policies have done for businesses in the United States.

Former Senator and Environmental Minister Marina Silva has seen stronger results than other candidates in potential second-round voting against Lula. She has run for President twice previously, finishing third both times. In 2007, Silva was named a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program; In 2014, the British Financial Times Newspaper selected Silva to be one of its Women of the Year. Protecting the Amazon is one of her greatest ideals. Her party, the Sustainability Network Party, is the only party that hasn’t dealt with charges of corruption, which may suggest she is less corruptible than other candidates.

Even though President Temer has had to confront charges of corruption, his policies have greatly benefited the economy by decreasing inflation, increasing foreign investment, and limiting fiscal spending. If voters are looking for someone to continue such initiatives, Joao Doria (mayor of Sao Paulo) and Geraldo Alckmin (Governor of the State of Sao Paulo) would be the best bet. Other analysts believe that Brazilians will continue to be dissatisfied with the current government, which would make it harder for Centrist Candidates like Alckmin and Doria.

Ultimately, the candidate that can capture the attention of would-be Lula voters will be Brazil’s next President. We would need a political prophet to know who that will be; the uncertainty is what makes this race exciting.

Sources:
Lula has double the support of next highest candidate:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/lula-to-run-for-brazil-presidency-despite-losing-corruption-appeal-1516919526?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=6

Bolsonaro: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/Latin-American-Election-Projections-for-2018-20171227-0023.html

Marina silva: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-politics-polls/poll-shows-lula-and-silva-tied-in-2018-brazil-presidential-vote-idUSKBN19H1CV

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-election-marinasilva/brazil-environmentalist-marina-silva-to-run-for-president-in-2018-idUSKBN1DW0NZ

Silva’s Accolades:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Silva

Brazilian Presidential Hopefuls: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-17/brazil-s-2018-presidential-hopefuls-start-their-engines

Temer’s Economy & Political Analysts’ Views: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/bi_event_summary_-_road_to_2018_-_september_29_2017_0.pdf

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