What can we expect from Bolsonaro in Brazil? – Round-table discussion at IFAT

What can we expect from Bolsonaro in Brazil? – Round-table discussion at IFAT
2018-11-13 Béla

At the second round of the Brazilian presidential elections held in the 28th of October, Jair Bolsonaro has managed to beat the left-wing candidate in the election run-off. Thus, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade has organised a round-table discussion to forecast, what we can expect from the controversial president-elect known for his radical comments.

The evaluation of the Brazilian presidential election was a truly puzzling issue for the general public: some critics are afraid of the newly elected candidate, saying that he will dismantle the Brazilian democracy, while others are cheering for the success of an anti-elitist president. In our event, Béla Soltész, Assistant Professor at the Eötvös Loránd University has argued, that in the second round, the leftists were obliged to support the “lesser evil” left-wing candidate against Bolsonaro, therefore they could not afford to vote from their hearts. The supporters of Bolsonaro however, could evaluate the election success of the right-wing as a revenge – they truly could feel, that after a long period of time, “it is finally their turn”.

Judit Ricz, the Research Fellow of the MTA Institute of World Economics has put a special emphasis on the state of the Brazilian economy: she argued, that even though the country has survived the worst part of its financial and economic crisis, the situation is still concerning. Thus, economic development could well and truly be a cornerstone of the Bolsonaro-presidency. Ms. Ricz added: Bolsonaro is not very qualified in the field of economic policy, therefore his liberal, pro-privatisation finance minister, Paulo Guedes is expected to take a strong effect on the Brazilian economy.

Sándor Gyula Nagy, the Deputy Director for Research of IFAT was examining the foreign policy aspects of the Bolsonaro-presidency. He laid down, that Bolsonaro has softened his once-radical anti-China stance, recognizing, that 20 percent of the Brazilian exports are heading to China. Dr. Nagy added: Brazil is expected to move closer to Trump – which became obvious, when Brazil announced to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. However, it is very likely that Bolsonaro will not remain a completely loyal ally to the US. The Deputy Director for Research has also emphasised: Bolsonaro has announced to expel around 11 thousand Cuban doctors securing the public healthcare system in the poorer regions of Brazil. Although cancelling the pact which established these medical missions can financially hurt the Cuban government, at the end of the day by expelling the doctors, Bolsonaro is putting his own citizens in risk. The president-elect would also need the Congress to put his radical ideas into practice. Even though his party is holding just 10 percent of all mandates, reaching a parliamentary majority could be easier than it seems: the proportion of right-wing representatives exceeds 60 percent in the Brazilian Congress, which makes it the most conservative parliament in the history of the modern Brazilian democracy.