By Emir Sader – Dec 29, 2021
The first characteristic of Brazil in 2021 was the reversal of optimism regarding economic reactivation and favorable economic projections for 2022. On the contrary, throughout the year the economic recession took root, to the point that the Central Bank of Brazil had to substantially raise interest rates.
Unemployment remained at the high levels of the previous year, but what increased greatly was the number of precarious workers. Today we can say that the vast majority of Brazilians who earn some kind of income do not do so with a formal contract. That is, they have no job security, no vacations, no maternity leave, and none of the guarantees of formal work, including compensation for losing their job.
With these developments, the forecast for 2022 and therefore for the time of the election campaign, is the continuation of recession and unemployment—a very unfavorable scenario for the current government.
The second characteristic of 2021 was the reversal of the image of the government and Bolsonaro, which collapsed. They reached the end of the year with a very low approval rating and a rejection rate of 60% or more, according to the survey.
Third, attempts to project a so-called third way candidate failed. Ciro Gomes not only failed to increase his ratings in the polls, but they fell by half, placing him in the middle of the pack of third-way names.
The biggest news could be the launch of Sergio Moro’s candidacy for the presidency of the republic. Associated with the fight against corruption, Moro did not realize all that had changed in Brazil: the wear and tear of the fight against corruption, in terms of Lava Jato and the negative image after Vaza Jato [leaks including damning conversations by Moro]. Contrary to what the media projected, his support ratings remain low.
Lula, on the other hand, has had a very positive year. Without launching himself as a candidate, without having a presence in the media, his image ended up being completely inverted in relation to what the media had projected in previous years.
Lula circulated throughout the country, making speeches, from the northeast to the south of the country. Subsequently, he made a trip to Europe, where he was received as a head of state. He traveled to Argentina, strengthening his image as a great Latin American political leader.
Among the activities he pursued within Brazil, Lula’s massive communication with the youth, with an audience of thousands of people, was the most striking.
Gradually, as Bolsonaro’s image faded and Moro did not assert himself, the media itself began to give Lula’s image and words some air time. His contacts with Geraldo Alckmin occupied much of the political space, forcing the media to publicize and comment on the political reality of Lula’s networking to build his candidacy.
At the end of the year, to crown the increased presence of his image, Lula began to appear in the polls as a probable winner in the first round, with preferences around 48% in the first round and 40% in the spontaneous poll.
The year 2021 ends like this: with Lula’s prominence as the greatest national political presence, with the erosion of Bolsonaro’s image, and with the failure of the third way pre-candidates, including Moro. Thus, 2022 is projected as a year in which Lula rises even more clearly as the favorite in the first round of the October elections in Brazil.
Featured image: Out with Bolsonaro
Additional translation by Orinoco Tribune
Emir Simão Sader is a Brazilian sociologist and political scientist of Lebanese origin. He received all his higher education credentials from the University of São Paulo. He did his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, his master’s degree in political philosophy and his doctoral degree in political science.
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