Jair Bolsonaro evokes “a battle between good and evil”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, candidate for re-election, during a meeting in Brasilia, March 27, 2022.

The Liberal Party (PL) had seen big for the launch of Jair Bolsonaro’s pre-candidacy for a new term, Sunday March 27. The new political movement of the Head of State, and the ninth to which he has joined since the beginning of his career, had reserved the most important congress center in Latin America for the event, in Brasilia.

But in flagrant violation of the electoral law, which sets August 16 as the start of the presidential campaign – the election will be held in October – the PL had to hastily rename the ceremony, and remove from the posters the words “launch » and « pre-application ».

The speeches however announced an election campaign and the decor was entirely dedicated “to the captain of the people”, a formula written in giant letters on the screens. But for this launch, it lacked the enthusiasm, and the crowd of activists, who did not fill the huge room at all.

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The president also did not show great enthusiasm during his twenty-minute speech, more focused on his record and his past than on a new mandate. Accompanied by the main figures of his government, he promised once again to “to give his life for Brazil”, repeatedly adding ” God willing “. With the military vocabulary that he likes, he described the fight that he will lead as “a battle of good against evil. In our Brazil, our enemy is not external, it is internal”.

A difficult re-election

Without ever naming former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva alias Lula, he attributed to the left – the internal enemy – all the ills of the country, in particular corruption and the loss of moral values. He recycled arguments and formulas from the 2018 election by repeating that Brazil would meet the same fate as Venezuela or Cuba if the Workers’ Party (PT) returned to power. But without raising his voice or arousing the indignation of the militants, as he managed to do so well four years earlier.

The launch of this campaign, which was therefore not one, should still set in motion the machine of the far right to attempt a re-election which is proving difficult. In all the polls for a year, the president is relegated to second place, far behind Lula with 10 to 15 points behind.

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On March 24, in the most recent opinion poll by the Datafolha Institute, however, he obtained four points more than in December 2021, at 26% of voting intentions, while Lula lost five (from 48 % to 43%). “The president has gained popularity because he is actually already in the countryside: he travels, inaugurates infrastructure with a vengeance and above all uses the state budget as much as possible. With new social aid, he won votes among the low-income classes who vote for Lula instead,” considers the sociologist Esther Solano, professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp).

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