The Political Revolution in Brazil

The Political Revolution in Brazil

Brazil’s Bolsonaro signals cooperation with transfer of power, but does not concede election defeat

Bolsonaro, along with former army officers, has been a polarizing figure within Brazilian politics since he entered the upper house of congress in January 2018. His rise to power was the culmination of a backlash against the corruption scandals that swept through the country in the ’70s and ’80s, and which culminated in a military coup attempt in 1964.

By David Sternberg and João Pedro Vargas

November 5, 2018 20:06 GMT

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, center, arrives for his inaugural address, in Brasilia, Brazil October 25, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

Nearly a year after Brazil’s presidential election, in which Bolsonaro emerged as the victor in the first round of voting, the world’s largest country is beginning to grapple with the ramifications of a historic change in political leadership. With a new president arriving in Brasilia that will have a mandate to transform the country, what will happen with the legislative and judicial branches of government over the next year? What will the country’s powerful military do next? And how, exactly, will Brazil’s political life look one year into the presidential term of the man who replaced one government-appointed president with another?

We speak to a journalist who lived in Brazil during the final years of the military government that lasted for almost two decades and who witnessed the Bolsonaro rise to power, and a political analyst who has been writing about him since his first campaign. He says Bolsonaro’s electoral success is “nothing new” and “can’t be characterized as a surprise.” But the analysts, who call himself and his colleagues “the right-wing alternative to the left-wing alternative,” said Bolsonaro’s political rise is a bit like “turning on a hot stove the next day.” And that’s because Bolsonaro promised in his campaign to remove a corruption scandal from the first-round ballots of the elections, an attempt to “restart democracy” by winning in the first round, analysts said.

Bolsonaro is now

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