The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, will celebrate three years in power on January 1, but he begins 2022 worn out and with the October elections on a horizon for which former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is emerging as the favorite.
Brazil will return to the polls on October 2 and the polls unanimously say that the first president that the extreme right gave the country has a voting intention of between 20 and 25%, compared to the almost 50% that they come to attribute to the progressive Lula, his biggest antagonist in politics.
The acute attrition suffered by the conservative leader since he won the 2018 elections with 55% of the votes is considered by analysts as a direct result of his firm denial in the face of the covid-19 pandemic, which has already killed almost 620,000 Brazilians, and the growing economic difficulties of the country.
The discontent manifested itself at the beginning of the New Year, with cacerolazos of protest against the government in several cities of Brazil.
The New Year began with some cacerolazos against Jair Bolsonaro, in Rio de Janeiro and other cities in Brazil. Photo: AFP
“Little flu” and the war on vaccines
Since the coronavirus arrived in Brazil, in March 2020, the president opposed all kinds of preventive measures, censured the use of chinstraps, minimized the health crisis, made fun of the sick and to this day denies vaccines, which he describes as “experimental” and whose effectiveness he casts doubt on.
The relationship between survey support and vaccines seems almost straightforward.
About 80% of voters applied them, compared to 20% who still remain like Bolsonaro himself, who usually boast of not having been immunized.
Beyond his denial in the face of covid-19, which he came to call a “little flu” -although he later caught himself-, Bolsonaro begins his fourth year in government with a stagnant economy, which is estimated to have grown by around 4% in 2021, after falling by a similar proportion in 2020, as a result of the health crisis.
The projections for 2022 are uncertain, but in the best of cases, insufficient growth of 0.5% is expected, with an inflation rate of around 10%, unemployment close to 12% and some 50 million people, who They represent just under a quarter of the Brazilian population, in a situation of food insecurity.
This scenario aroused suspicions in the private sectors, which in 2018 were deluded with the liberalism proclaimed by Bolsonaro, who finally left those ideas behind and appealed to public money to finance social programs of a clear populist tint pointing to the next elections.
Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva appears as the favorite in opinion polls for the October elections. Photo: REUTERS
Problems with Justice
Bolsonaro also faces storms in their own ranks And already many more moderate conservatives have distanced themselves, in part because of the radical positions of minority groups on the far right that form the base of support for the government.
Those ultras cells, encouraged in part by Bolsonaro himself, kept in 2021 low threat to democratic institutions and they called numerous acts in which they demanded a “military intervention” to “suppress” the Parliament and the Supreme Court.
Justice took action on the matter and both Bolsonaro and two of his sons and many activists around him are being investigated by the Supreme Court, which also has yet to analyze other accusations against the president.
One of the most serious was formulated by a Senate commission that investigated the possible omissions of the government in the face of the covid-19 crisis and accused Bolsonaro, among other crimes, of “crimes against humanity.”
With this scenario, the far-right leader will try to renew his mandate and, although Lula has not finished confirming his candidacy, no one doubts that his name will be at the polls in October.
“We are going to work in 2022 so that all Brazilians can have a dignified life and once again be a country that is filled with pride. I will never give up fighting for a better tomorrow,” Lula wrote on his social networks in his last message of 2021 .