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The social media-savvy right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro is the front-runner in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election. A wave of high-profile corruption scandals, which has decimated the country’s political elite, is one reason for his growing popularity. Yet as Wilson Center Fellow Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva explains, the wide dispersal of popular support among his rival candidates is another reason for Bolsonaro’s unlikely ascent. As Brazilians are heading to the polls this fall, getAbstract recommends da Silva’s pre-election analysis to everybody who wants an overview of the political dynamics at play.


Much uncertainty surrounds Brazil’s October 2018 presidential election. President Michel Temer enjoys a mere 5% approval rating and has taken himself out of the race. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to be the most popular politician in the country. Yet as he is currently serving a 12-year prison term for corruption, the electoral courts are unlikely to validate his candidacy for the Workers’ Party. No-one has so far emerged as the new face of Brazil’s political left. Early polling suggests that up to 20% of voters are currently backing right-wing...

About the Author

Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva is a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and a special adviser at the São Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil.

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