Brazil to go in for second round of voting after Lula fails to win outright

Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro is widely expected to win the second round on October 30

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Monday 03 October 2022
Luis Inacio Lula da Silva casting his vote October 2, 2022. Photo: @LulaOficial / Twitter

Former president of Brazil and challenger Luis Inacio Lula da Silva failed to win an outright victory in the first round of the presidential elections in Latin America’s largest country October 2, 2022.

Lula secured 48 per cent of the vote, of which over 98 per cent had been counted at the time of writing. This was short of the over 50 per cent figure needed to claim outright victory, The Guardian reported.

Jair Bolsonaro, the incumbent president and Lula’s far-right rival, secured 44 per cent of the vote.

Brazil’s electoral authority confirmed that Brazilians would head to a second round of voting October 30 to decide who the country’s president would be. “Lula and Bolsonaro will contest the 2nd round of Brazil’s presidential elections,” it tweeted.

Bolsonaro is widely expected to win the second round. “Lula’s second-round victory is now less likely. Bolsonaro will arrive with a lot of strength for re-election,” Carlos Melo, a political scientist at the Insper business school, told news agency Reuters.

“Bolsonaro will have a real shot at winning the runoff, and in that case we are in deep trouble,” Filipe Campante, Bloomberg distinguished associate professor (SAIS & Economics), Johns Hopkins University, United States, tweeted.

Read Brazil polls: Lula can win but 2023 to be difficult for country, say experts

The Amazon

Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy, had noted in the run-up to the election:

A loss for Jair Bolsonaro in the upcoming Brazilian presidential election could lead to Amazon deforestation in his nation falling by 89 per cent over the next decade.

It had added that a Lula win could prevent 75,960 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest loss by 2030, “an area roughly the size of Panama”. This was because Lula had pledged to address illegal deforestation in the Amazon, in line with his previous presidency from 2003-2010, the website added.

It noted that deforestation had increased under Bolsonaro from 2018-2021.

“Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased since he took power, wiping out 34,018 sq km of rainforest, an area larger than Belgium, in his first three years,” Carbon Brief said.

A report in September had stated that a quarter of the Amazon was at point of no return due to high rates of deforestation and degradation. However, it added that the remaining 74 per cent (629 million hectares in priority areas) of the Amazon was still standing and required immediate protection.

More than 75 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has been likely heading towards a tipping point since the early 2000s, according to a study in March this year.

It may be losing its ability to bounce back from extreme events such as drought or fire, threatening to become a dry savanna-like ecosystem.

“If Bolsonaro was to secure another four years in government, this would be a disaster in ecological terms, since his policies mean the destruction of key ecosystems, lots of greenhouse gas emissions and violence against environmentalists and indigenous peoples,” Brazilian eco-socialist Sabrina Fernandes had told Down To Earth (DTE) in the run-up to the election.

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