Jair Bolsonaro is a Brazilian politician who has been the President of his country since 1. January 2019, following the 2018 presidential election.
From Military to Mandate
The retired Coronel of paratroopers has represented a constituency of the state of Rio de Janeiro in the Chamber of Deputies of the Brazilian Congress since 1991. During that time, he changed several times party affiliation; since 2019 he has been a member of the Alianca for Brazil, which is still in the process of being established:
Jair Bolsonaro won the Brazilian presidential election with more than 55% of the votes. “This is an extraordinary achievement for someone who only used an 8-second television spot and led a completely unknown party,” wrote the venerable New York Times one day after the election.
It remains to be said that the clamor for the sensational election quickly turned into a euphoric wave of admiration for the President. Overnight, Bolsonaro had become the rising star on Brazil’s political sky, and the term “Bolsonarism” was established. In no time at all, the new President conquered Congress, and he enchanted even high politicians and governors of the entire country.
We want renewal
For the first time, established party leaders stayed without seats in Congress. The big names of Brazilian politics disappeared from the map. A symbol of this is Romero Jucá (Brazilian Democratic Movement – MDB), Vice President of the Senate under the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003), President under the governments of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Minister in the current government of President Michel Temer and current President of the MDB. He lost the battle for his re-election as a senator of the northern state of Roraima. Similarly, exemplary is the case of the well-known Sarney family candidates in Maranhao State, who also did not win a single seat. That was an unexpected blow to one of the most important political dynasties in northeastern Brazil and a symbol of the traditional feudal political style.
Also noteworthy was the defeat of Dilma Rouseff, whose candidacy as the senator for the state of Minas Gerais was unsuccessful, another bitter blow for the Workers’ Party (PT). This negative result mixed into the symbolic atmosphere surrounding the former President since she became the victim of a highly controversial impeachment trial, which many called a “soft coup.”
The Senate and House of Representatives have experienced the most significant upheaval in their history. The news could not be more transparent: Bolsonaro’s party had brought about a renewal in a short space of time. For how long and with what stability this renewal will continue is unclear, especially now in times of the Corona crisis.
And how long the anti-establishment outsider Bolsonaro will be able to assert himself against the utterly corrupt political logic of his country is difficult to foretell. It seems that the President’s stunning comments cost him more and more unpopularity.
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Autor: Arthur Pahl