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    A supporter of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro attends a demonstration at Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 29, 2018. Picture taken September 29, 2018. (File Photo)

    Scholar: There's Disillusionment With Worker's Party Government in Brazil

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    On Oct. 28, Brazilians will return to the polls to select between the top two candidates from the first round of the country's national elections. Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho, Senior Lecturer at King’s Brazil Institute, a regional branch of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

    Sputnik: Let's start with Jair Bolsonaro; he entered politics in 1988, during his tenure he proposed 170 bills and then only two of them were passed into law. But in 2018 he miraculously garners widespread support and wins the first round of presidential elections. Did his victory come a surprise to you? What’s the key to his success?

    Dr. Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho: Well first of all I don't think it’s not a surprise, I think and for those who really are following quite closely the situation Brazil would not be surprised with this growing of Bolsonaro in recent years, and especially the huge success now and there are many factors involved with it.

    The first point is since he joined politics in 1988 he’s been able to keep his position as MP for Rio de Janeiro state with a good number of votes, so it means that there was a part of Brazilian society that knew him very well, and his agenda of, let’s say, a more robust response for special issues regarding public security in Brazil. Besides that, I think he understood very well the mood and the way that Brazilian society was thinking and reflecting on recent years in politics in Brazil, and probably we will talk much more about that. The question of desperation regarding the situation of Brazil, the disillusionment with PT (Worker's Party) government, the disillusionment with the traditional politicians based on strong parties that had historically been present in the Brazilian Parliament and in the Brazilian government. But (another) aspect is the complete understanding of how social media and how other forms of communication operate today, and not only based on the traditional media and the traditional ways of advertising his ideas to the public.

    I think those factors are very important to understand, and we should never neglect what Bolsonaro did in the Parliament; to present bills for a vote is not the only role that a parliamentarian has and we should not think that he was not an active member of the Parliament because of the amount of bills that he presented, but principally and specially because of the votes that he has made on other bills that were proposed, how he was showing himself with his agenda from very early on in the Brazilian Parliament.

    Sputnik: Doctor, you mentioned the public's discontent with the PT Party; its candidate Fernando Haddad received 29% of the votes in the first round. Mr. Haddad is the protégé of former President Lula, who was barred from participating in the presidential race and is serving a prison term. In campaigning, the PT slogan has been "Haddad is Lula, Lula is Haddad." Now despite the fact that Lula was charged with corruption, people still vote for him, why is that?

    Dr. Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho: Yes, that’s a very interesting paradox in Brazilian society. Brazilian society and politics in general always look at the president as a sort of the father of the nation, a person who would take care of the poor people, and Lula built up his image like that, a man who is beside the poor people, a man who removed people from poverty. When we see, for example, the statistics of the votes in Brazil, it’s exactly the north-east region that votes more for Haddad and not for Bolsonaro, why that? It’s exactly the region that supports Lula more and where historically we had the poorest people in Brazilian society, so it’s a very good sign that the poor people still look at Lula as the guy who saved them from poverty in general, and the question of Haddad is exactly this point. Haddad was not like a popular politician all over Brazil before this election, he was chosen by Lula to be the candidate of mayor of San Paulo a few years ago, he ran San Paulo city and now it's again a decision of Lula to put him in his place, to replace him as a candidate for presidency. And Lulu was believing, as well as the PT in general, that Haddad would take all the votes from Lula, that’s why the slogan is 'Haddad is Lula, Lula is Haddad'. But we also should see the other side here, that a huge part of the Brazilian population is really not content with what Lula did and what the PT party, the Workers Party did when they were in power. So in the same way that Haddad corresponds to the population that liked Lula, there’s also that idea that if Haddad is Lula then we don’t want him at all.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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