Bolsonaro’s Election: A Resounding Victory Yields an Uncertain Future - Part Two
One week ago, right-wing candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) was declared the president-elect of Brazil, ushering in what he hopes will prove a historic shift for the role of the government in the daily lives of Brazilians: “More Brazil, Less Brasília” (“Mais Brasil, Menos Brasília”).
While Bolsonaro’s victory was met with intense scrutiny from the 47 million people that voted for his opponent (Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party), markets reacted positively to his election. One day after the run-off, Ibovespa futures jumped by over 4% and the Brazilian real appreciated against the dollar, reaching R$3.60 to US$1.
In Part One of this two-part series, we shared our reaction to and analysis of Bolsonaro’s victory. We noted that Bolsonaro’s mandate is not nearly as strong as the vote total suggests and, as a result, generating economic growth, improving employment prospects and delivering early political “wins” in 2019 will be critical to sustaining a Bolsonaro presidency. In this Part Two of our analysis, we provide additional commentary and a range of specific scenarios in which President Bolsonaro could achieve those goals and others.
This election demonstrated paradigm-shifting results, highlighting Brazilians’ dissatisfaction and frustration with the establishment. After fourteen years of Workers’ Party rule, Bolsonaro’s victory of 55.1% over Haddad’s 44.9% is astounding. However, what is perhaps more telling are the historic amount of nulo (null or protest) and branco (blank) votes and abstention rates. Close to 41 million people voted branco, nulo or chose to abstain from these elections, demonstrating the dire disenchantment of a large portion of the population with Brazilian politicians more broadly.