BY MARCOS ALMEIDA
The South American nation of Brazil is facing its most polarising presidential election in generations. The consequence – a strong conservative or socialist agenda, with no centrist candidate in the mix.
On the far right, the candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, a retired captain of the Brazilian army and nostalgic about the military regime that extended from the 1960`s to the 1980`s, is the leader in the recent presidential polls. To many Brazilians, he is the best option to save Brazil from the clutches of South American socialism, which has not only devastated the likes of the Venezuelan economy, but also led Brazil to its most significant recession.
The recession, was a result of the economic measures taken during 14 years of leftist rule that led the country until 2016, when then President for the Labour Party, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached.
On the left, the return attempt of the Labour Party. Currently second place in the polls, candidate Fernando Haddad aims to lead the election to a second round, and is supported by popular leader Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, former President for the party between the years of 2003 and 2011. The fact that Lula is a prisoner of the Brazilian Federal Police for acts of corruption committed whilst president was not enough to extinguish his political career, which still holds a large part of the national electorate.
The situation outlined represents an imminent risk of economic, ideological and institutional shock for Brazil in the coming years. The outcome will inevitably result in the approval of radical policies, be it by a right-wing government or by a left-wing government. These measures will predictably impact the country’s economy and may also threaten individual property rights of its Brazilian citizens.
A military inclined government puts into question individual rights guaranteed by the state. While candidate Jair Bolsonaro claims that he does not intend to allow military intervention in his future government with his Vice-President pick, General Hamilton Mourao, even the promise of purely liberal economic policy led by the renowned economist Paulo Guedes stretches the imagination of many voters.
While there is speculation about the consequences of an extreme right-wing government in Brazil, a climate of change is in the air. The return of the Labour Party government leaves no room for supposition as left party leaders double down on their socialist plan for the future.
The 2016 impeachment saw the left’s most prominent leader, Lula, arrested in 2018. The bitterness is expressed even by the party’s highest command, which make it clear that a left government will be more radical and ideological than that presented in the last 14 years.
Many Brazilian citizens fear that socialist and radical regimes threaten individual freedoms with the loss of purchasing power and property rights for the benefit of the State. The effect to the citizens of Brazil, especially the wealthy, may be a loss of much of their assets in favour of equality in poverty.
A far left or far right President is inevitable. Many Brazilians are fearful of either outcome with renewed interest in international asset protection.
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