Latin America Advisor

Latin America Advisor

A Daily Publication of The Dialogue

Who Will Brazilians Choose for the Next Four Years?

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is seeking to unseat current President Jair Bolsonaro (L-R) in the country’s presidential election. Voters head to the polls on Sunday. // File Photos: Facebook Pages of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilians cast ballots on Sunday in the first round of the country’s presidential election and will also choose members of Congress and state governors. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has consistently led in polls, but incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has been gaining ground with voters. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the two top vote-getters will face each other in a runoff on Oct. 30. What will be the deciding factors for voters in the first round of the election? Which voting blocs hold the key to the result? How likely is Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly questioned the country’s voting system, to accept the outcome if he loses? What institutions in Brazil might be put to the test in resolving any potential conflicts?

Peter Hakim, member of the Advisor board and president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue: “Lula will win the election, hands down, perhaps in the first round or surely in the second. Reliable polls show Lula with a commanding lead of 12 to 16 points. The question is whether, regardless of the outcome, Bolsonaro, like his idol Donald Trump, will insist the election was stolen and resist stepping down. What happens next is all speculation. Will there be massive, possibly violent demonstrations from rabid Bolsonaro allies, whom police are unwilling or unable to control—and may even support? Will Brazil’s military protect democracy, stand aside or support the false claims? The narrower the Lula victory, the more likely that Bolsonaro will contest the results. Still, there will be forces pushing against Bolsonaro. Many Brazilian institutions have shown their resilience. Governors, mayors, the courts, the news media, business leaders and civil society groups, for example, effectively resisted…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe click here or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at

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