Peter Hakim on Brazil’s Presidential Elections

Brazil prepares to elect its next president on Oct 28 as part of the second round of elections in the country. The people of Brazil will have to choose between the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro and Lula-backed centrist Fernando Haddad. On the night of the elections, the Inter-American Dialogue’s President Emeritus and Senior Fellow Peter Hakim commented on the topic for CGTN America with John Terrett.


“You have to start with Bolsonaro, who is a very fringe candidate – on the extreme. No one would have thought that it would be possible for him to ever be a candidate that would actually become president. It was only because of the dire situation that Brazil finds itself with an economy flat on its back, where voters no longer believe in the country's institutions and [where there are] massive corruption scandals. In other words, Haddad is a much more centrist candidate – center-left. [He] was part of the center governing parties in Brazil, Bolsonaro was a man of the extreme.”

“I think that [people believing that a vote for him would be a vote for Lula] was central to Haddad. He is not a great charismatic person, he didn’t have a great agenda, and when Lula selected him as being the candidate of his party (Lula is a man who left the presidency with a 90% approval rating) [Haddad] immediately became a serious contender. Whether Lula would have actually controlled him, I think not. He probably would have begun to manage [the party] himself (people always talk about him being controlled by somebody else) but it is hard to know. Lula is an amazing person, half of the country wants him to be president and the other half wants to keep him in jail.”

“I think BRICs had difficulties over time and hasn't proven as important a set institutions as one would have expected. The BRICs are really are China and four other countries. China is the core of it, China keeps it growing because of China’s own ambitions. I think Bolsonaro is clearly is a person who has no experience in foreign affairs, has no real strong views about foreign affairs, is a person who is focused on Brazil [with the rhetoric] ‘I want to change Brazil’.”

“It is going to take a long time [to get a grip of corruption]. Someone once said about Mexican politics that is true about Brazil: Corruption is not a problem for the political system, it is the political system.”

“[The] mathematics are very clear, Bolsonaro is going to win and win big.”

Watch the full interview here



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˙Peter Hakim