Jair Bolsonaro – who is already horrified by Donald Trump’s defeat – suffered further failure after the candidates he had chosen were grim in the municipal elections.
Sunday’s vote provided the first opportunity for an election to assess the health of the Brazilian president’s anti-establishment movement after the populist’s shocking victory in 201
The results, which include painful lesions for Bolsonist candidates in key cities and the resurgence of politicians from the main parties suggest that this is a sick force.
“The far-right wave that brought Bolsonaro to the presidency turned into a riot in 2020,” said political commentator Josias de Souza in his vote.
Bolsonaro, who has not yet publicly acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory over his supreme international ally, has approved right-wing candidates in six state capitals – four of which have suffered heavy defeats.
In the Amazon city of Manaus, Bolsonaro’s four-decade-old friend, Alfredo Menezes, finished fifth. In Recife, Patricia Domingos – whom Bolsonaro had vowed to liberate northeastern Brazil from “communism” – is fourth.
In Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third city, Bolsonaro’s candidate, a 23-year-old conservative activist named Bruno Engler, was defeated by the incumbent Alexander Calil, who won more than 63% of the vote.
But Souza claims that “of all the Waterloo inflicted on Bolsonaro on Sunday, the most devastating is in Sao Paulo.”
There, in Brazil’s largest and most economically powerful city, Bolsonaro’s choice, Celso Rusomano, was troubled by center-right star Bruno Covas and a rising left-wing star named Guillermo Boulos. Covas and Boulos will face off in the second round on November 29th.
“We defeated Bolsonaro – we defeated his project of hatred, backwardness and lies that tried to take root in the city of Sao Paulo,” said Boulos.
Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria said: “Democracy has won and Bolsonaro has lost.”
Rio’s unpopular evangelical mayor, Marcelo Crivella, reached the second round but is expected to lose. A newspaper marked Sunday’s results as “the Bolsonist breakdown ”.
Elsewhere, there were humiliating defeats or hiccups for other Bolsonaro-related candidates.
The president’s cousin, Marcos Bolsonaro, won just 1,340 votes – 4% of the total – in his candidacy to become mayor of the town of Jaboticabal.
President Rogeria Bolsonaro’s ex-wife failed to become an adviser in Rio after receiving only 2,033 votes.
Bolsonaro’s son, Carlos, secured a second term in Rio’s town hall, but received 36,000 fewer votes than in the last election, and lost his title of Rio’s most voted councilor to a Socialist.
In the southern city of Brusque, a potential adviser who tried to increase his chances by running under Donald Trump Bolsonaro’s control secured just 107 votes – 0.7% of the total – finishing in 128th place.
Bolsonaro tried to change the narrative, claiming that the results foreshadowed his chances of re-election in 2022 and were a “historic defeat” for the left. But analysts say the opposite is true, with a new generation of left-wing politicians doing well.
Like Boulos, 38, there were strong performances by Manuela D’Ávila, 39, the Communist Party candidate in Porto Alegre, Marília Arraes, 36, a candidate of the Workers’ Party in Recife, and João Campos, 26, the Brazilian Socialist Party candidate in the same city.
Monica Benicio, 34, widow of slain left-wing councilor Mariel Franco, was elected to the Rio City Hall for the Socialism and Freedom Party.
“The left rejuvenated on Sunday,” the Rio O Globo brochure said.
The election comes at a test time for Bolsonaro. Trump’s defeat has robbed his populist project of a key source of legitimacy, corruption investigators have imprisoned two of his political sons, and opinion polls show support is being missed in several major cities.
Meanwhile, more than 165,000 Brazilians have died in a coronavirus epidemic, and critics say Bolsonaro is catastrophically wrong. Last week, with hints that Brazil’s outbreak was deteriorating again, the Brazilian president dismissed warnings of a “second wave” as a “gibber-jagger.”