The election of a Brazilian president committed to a range of openly fascist policies sent shockwaves through the Western body politic. But did Brazilians actually endorsed this man and his policies? The validity of the election was in any case under question because the most popular opposition candidate, Lula, was jailed and denied the right to stand on grounds widely-recognised as trumped-up, prior to an election which was itself the outcome of the equally questionable unseating of Brazil’s elected president Dilma Rousseff.
But did the Brazilian people not, nevertheless, ‘choose’ Bolsonaro? Is he not the ‘democratically elected’ leader of the Brazilian state? The most widely-touted figure in the Western Press is the percentage of votes cast for candidates, being (in the second round) 57,797,947 or 55.13% for Bolsonaro and 47,040,906 for the leading opposition candidate or 44.87%. Interestingly, even this result is lower than the share of votes obtained by Maduro in the recent presidential election in Venezuela.
Yet a careful analysis of the results shows that this verdict is far from accurate. It leaves out of account 11,094, 698 votes recorded as invalid or blank. Thus, if the candidate’s share is calculated as a percentage of votes cast we have the somewhat different result of 49.9% for Bolsonaro, as shown in table 1. However even this figure overstates the vote for Bolsonaro, since voting in Brazil is mandatory; a failure to vote is therefore a significantly greater statement than in the US or the UK where voting is optional. Bolsonaro’s share of registered voters at 39.2% is therefore a more realistic measure of his actual support.
Cite as: Freeman, A. et al. 2018. Did Bolsonaro Win? Editorial post on New Cold War website. Posted November 20 2018. Https://newcoldwar.org/did-bolsonaro-win/