Defeat for Bolsonaro: The candidates he sponsored lost the runoff elections for important mayor offices in Brazil. The president’s favorites only prevail in five less important cities.
In the second round of local elections in Brazil, the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro suffered a major defeat. Eleven of 13 candidates supported by the incumbent head of state lost the race on Sunday – including the one for the mayor’s office in Rio de Janeiro. As in the first ballot two weeks ago, the traditionally right-wing and conservative parties emerged victorious.
Bolsonaro received a veritable rejection of voters in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, where Mayor Marcelo Crivella lost the runoff election against his center-right predecessor Eduardo Paes. The evangelical pastor Crivella had repeatedly campaigned for Bolsonaro, but was defeated by Paes with 36 to 64 percent of the vote. Paes described his success as a “victory of politics over radicalism”.
“Being in politics without hatred”
In the largest Brazilian city of São Paulo, incumbent Bruno Covas prevailed in the mayor’s runoff election. He got around 60 percent of the vote, his left challenger Guilherme Boulos had 40 percent. Covas spoke out against Bolsonaro and his political style: “It is possible to be in politics without hatred.”
The president’s candidate also lost in the city of Fortaleza in the northeast of the South American country.
Big disappointment for left camp
Overall, the local elections were a huge disappointment for the once powerful left. For the first time since 1985, the long-ruling PT Workers’ Party of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva failed to win a single capital of the 26 states.
Around 38 million Brazilians – a quarter of the electorate – were called upon to elect mayors and city councils in 57 cities for four years.
The local elections were the first vote since Bolsonaro took office. For the time being, he did not react to the results.
Bolsonaro remains popular
The president is still popular, with approval ratings of more than 40 percent in recent polls. Recently, however, he was exposed to sharp criticism, also because of his handling of the corona pandemic, which he had repeatedly referred to as “minor flu”. Brazil has the second highest death toll worldwide with more than 172,000 registered corona deaths.