Brazilians are heading to the polls after what has been described as the country’s most polarizing election campaignFar-right President Jair Bolsonaro plays against his leftist opponent, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula will enter the second round of Sunday’s presidential vote with a steady lead ahead of Bolsonaro, the most recent polls have shown.
However, polling before the first round underestimate voter support for the incumbent, causing public backlash and forcing a second round.
Here’s everything you need to know about the closely contested vote:
Why did the election move to a second round?
Organized by Brazil First round of voting on October 2, but none of the 11 presidential candidates won an outright majority.
That sets up Sunday’s showdown between Lula and Bolsonaro, who finished with approval ratings of 48 and 43 percent, respectively.
Governors in states where no candidate won a majority in the first round will also be selected.
What did the presidential candidates promise?
Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, has attractive to Brazilians elected him to help “reconstruct and transform” the country after four years under Bolsonaro.
He has pledged to support low-income citizens and restore environmental protection policies, especially in the Amazon, which has seen a deforestation is on the rise and increase attacks against Local person In recent years.
Bolsonaro, whose mantra is “God, family, country,” announced new programs to help poor Brazilians while promoting economic development and promising to tackle crime and corruption. He also emphasized conservative values, including opposing abortion and legalized drugs while falsely warning that Lula’s return would lead to persecution of the churches.
“Lula’s campaign is about the past; that is its greatest strength and also its greatest weakness,” Brian Winter, vice president of policy for the American Association/Council, recently told The Associated Press.
“It was the memory of the boom years of the 2000s that made people want to vote for him. But his unwillingness or inability to speak out new ideas and bring fresh faces has left him somewhat helpless as Bolsonaro closes the gap.”
Where do Bolsonaro and Lula get most of their support?
Typically, support for Lula and his Workers’ Party comes from the working class of Brazil and the countryside. Bolsonaro has the backing of conservatives, Christians – an important voting block – and business interests.
Election watchers will pay attention to what’s happening in Minas Gerais, an inland state in the southeastern part of Brazil billed as “a micro model of Brazilian voters,” Latin America region editor Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman reported this week.
“If this race goes as tight as most predict, every vote counts, especially in Minas Gerais, where no Brazilian president has yet won without winning the state,” Newman said. speak.
What other issues occurred during the campaign?
Deformation information has been A big problem in Brazil during the election cycle, experts say, with much of the information spreading on social media platforms, such as TikTok, as well as through the messaging app WhatsApp.
People have falsely stated that Lula wanted to let men use public school toilets next to little girls while others falsely accused Bolsonaro of making comments admitting to eating. cannibalism and pedophilia.
Flora S Rebello Arduini, campaign director at SumOfUs, a nonprofit group that has tracked the issue in the wake of Brazil’s elections, says there is an increasing number of misinformation and misinformation being spread online. society.
One of the most concerning, she told Al Jazeera, is that companies have advertising is allowed about content containing disinformation and hate speech and sowing distrust in the electoral system.
She added that the Bolsonaro campaign was responsible for many misinformation. “They are watching books that [former US President Donald] Trump made a decision in the 2020 election.”
What impact did that misinformation have?
For months, experts have raised concerns that misinformation – especially around the Brazilian electoral system – can lead to politically motivated violence.
There have been several incidents of violence during the campaign, including one last week involving a former congressman who is a Bolsonaro supporter. Roberto Jefferson opened fire and threw a stun grenade at federal police, who arrested him by order of the Supreme Court for insulting one of its judges. Two officers were injured.
Amnesty International’s regional director for the Americas, Erika Guevara-Rosas, warned Friday that there has been an “exponential increase” in reports of harassment and intimidation ahead of the general vote. system.
“Electoral threats are particularly prominent in religious centres, and it has flooded social media, where an increasing number of people, including public figures, assault and arrest people who hold views different from their own,” Guevara-Rosas said in a statement.
“President Jair Bolsonaro and his government must ensure that they disseminate reliable information, fight false claims, and do everything in their power to prevent and condemn any attacks and threats in the days leading up to the last vote of the president,” she said.
Could more violence erupt after the vote?
That is a big concern.
Bolsonaro for months said without proof that Brazil’s electronic voting system susceptible to widespread fraud. Observers have accused him of planning to contest the same election results as Trump, whom he emulated.
Brazil was under authoritarian military rule from 1964 to 1985, and Bolsonaro – a former army captain – has expressed admiration for the old regime, which human rights groups describe as ““ brutal dictatorship”. That has add to the tension around the current election campaign and prompted calls from lawmakers in the US and Europe to ask Bolsonaro to honor the result.
In a letter late last month to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, dozens of European legislators said it was important to dissuade Brazil’s military leadership from supporting “a coup”.
What else is at stake?
Ahead of the first round, Manuel Rapalo of Al Jazeera said many Brazilian voters see the election “as an important battle for the future of Brazilian democracy”.
That is recent echo by researchers Deborah Brown and Maria Laura Canineu of Human Rights Watch, who add that the “critical test for democracy and the rule of law” could also have implications beyond borders world, “with the size and influence of Brazil”.
The Amazon’s Future, which is crucial to combating climate change, is also in the balance. There has been an increase in Deforest in the world’s largest rainforest under the management of Bolsonaro, causing global condemnation.