On Thursday 10 November, Raahan Mehta gave a very informative and insightful talk at Politics Society about the 2022 Brazilian General Elections, focusing on the main candidates for the presidency and the effects this will have on Brazil and the world. In the election, left-wing Luiz Ináco Lula da Silva (known as ‘Lula’) narrowly beat right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro with 50.9% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. Out of 156 million registered voters, there was a difference of only 2.14 million – this is evidence of the division in the Brazilian population.

During his time as president, Bolsonaro has been popular among the many Catholics in Brazil due to his anti-LGBTQ+ policies, and also because his main aim was economic growth (which he proposed to achieve at the expense of the environment and the Amazon Rainforest).

Lula was president of Brazil from 2003-2011. Raahan showed infographics and graphs that showed during Lula’s years as president, commodity prices were extremely high, which sustained Brazil’s economic growth. Some use this to criticise Lula, saying that he did not actually help the economy and his continuous funding of government services would have backfired if it wasn’t for commodity prices being so high. In previous presidential terms, Lula focused on lifting millions out of extreme poverty, passing stricter laws on illegal mining and ensuring the rights of indigenous people

Lula’s previous policies are an indicator of what is to come for Brazil, but Raahan highlighted that it will be very difficult for Lula to pass his new laws as Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party holds the largest number of seats in both houses. Raahan’s talk described the context of the election in detail and explained the political system of Brazil brilliantly.