Shadow of a person walking seen on a mural painted with the Brazilian flag
Even if Lula emerges victorious, the legacy of Bolsonaro will cast a pall over a Lula administration. | Photo: Gustavo Minas via flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

Brazil’s Presidential Election: How Far does the Populist Glow Reach?

The first round of Brazil’s presidential elections took place on 2 October 2022. The result was 43.2% for incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and 48.4% for ex-president (2003–2010) Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva. Given that none of the candidates achieved more than 50%, a final run-off is scheduled for 30 October. Pre-election polls predicted Lula would reach the critical 50% threshold. These polls also projected Bolsonaro would win around 36%. But in the end, his vote share was more than 43%. This result left the world searching for an explanation.


Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current President Jair Bolsonaro, left, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil
Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Eraldo Peres

Democracy on the Razor’s Edge: The 2022 Presidential Elections in Brazil

Brazil’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 2, 2022. The confrontation between the extreme-right incumbent president Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Lula Da Silva provides a rare setting. The election places Brazil at a crossroads and will set the stage for either a comprehensive commitment to democracy under Lula or a continuation along the path to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the most likely scenario is a win for Lula. Nevertheless, Brazil’s democratic institutions are continuously under attack. Currently, the possibility of the elections being preemptively cancelled or the final results being contested cannot be fully dismissed.


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro doing the "gun gesture" in 2019. | Photo: flickr, Palácio do Planalto | CC BY 2.0

Bolsonaro gunning at Brazilian democracy

In Brazil, September 7th is Independence Day, traditionally celebrated with civil and military parades in the capital Brazilia and many other cities. What was intended to foster national pride and unity threatens to damage that very unity this year, as President Bolsonaro wants to turn the events into a show of strength signalling his will to win in the 2022 elections by a coup d’état if necessary. 


Das Handelsabkommen zwischen der EU und dem Mercosur ist heftiger Kritik ausgesetzt, unter anderem auch dem Vor-wurf, die Rodungen im Gebiet des Amazonas-Regenwalds weiter zu befördern. | Photo: Flickr, quapan. | CC BY 2.0

Am seidenen Faden: Das Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union (EU) und dem Mercosur

Zwanzig Jahre lang wurde das Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der EU und dem Mercosur verhandelt, im Juni 2019 wurde eine Einigung über den Handelsteil erzielt, doch die Ratifizierung lässt auf sich warten und steht aktuell unter keinem guten Stern. Trotz breiter Kritik sind zwar noch letzte Hoffnungsschimmer ersichtlich, insgesamt weisen die aktuellen Entwicklungen jedoch in Richtung des Scheiterns.


Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro is well known for insults against indigenous people. | Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR | CC BY 2.0

Indigenous Peoples’ experiences: Some observations about the new political era in Latin America

In the last five years, Latin America has entered a new political era with indigenous peoples at the center of these changes. The new governments in the region are promoting revisionist policies regarding past state violence and implementing new policies of indigenous dispossession. However, the observable trend denying indigenous peoples their basic rights, and their participation on issues affecting them, is not only an issue of minority politics, it also draws broader fundamental civil rights and liberties into question.