Brazil goes to the polls on Sunday in municipal elections and the right-wing parties are consolidated as favorites

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The consolidation of this political map, however, cannot be read as a preview of the 2022 presidential election or as a victory for Jair Bolsonaro, who has no candidates of his own. Two strong opponents would prevail in Rio and San Pablo.

The municipal elections that Brazil holds on Sunday will surely favor a conservative agenda and will consolidate the turn to the right given in 2018, when the country elected Jair Bolsonaro as president, analysts say.

The first round for Brazilians to elect the mayors and councilors of the more than 5,500 municipalities in the country It will also be marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused more than 162,000 deaths, a deep economic crisis and could affect the appearance at the polls.

Candidates with religious influence and with an emphasis on a public safety speech -Many of them former policemen or ex-military- must prevail in these elections, which “will deepen a little what we saw in 2018: the advance of the right and center-right parties,” Oswaldo Amaral, a political scientist at the University of Campinas, told AFP. . “We already saw that at the launch of the candidacies,” he added.

The consolidation of a political map more to the right, however, cannot be read as a preview of the 2022 presidential election. nor like a Bolsonaro victory, point out the interviewees.

The candidates backed by Bolsonaro in the large electoral colleges of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for example, are ranked second in the polls, in a technical tie with third parties and far below the leaders: São Paulo mayor Bruno Covas (PSDB, center) and former mayor Eduardo Paes (DEM, right) in Rio.

“Bolsonaro is the first president since the re-democratization of Brazil that goes to municipal elections without a party, so it will be difficult to count if he has a victory or a defeat, “explained Felipe Nunes, a political scientist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

The far-right president defeated the leftist Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) in 2018 and took over the registered presidency in the Social Liberal Party (PSL), his ninth party in 30 years of political career, which he left during his first year in office. He immediately announced the creation of the Alliance for Brazil, which has not yet been made official.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB, center-right), traditionally strong in regional redoubts, is the party with the most registered candidates.

And those that grew the most in applications compared to 2016 are the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Progressive Party (PP) and Democrats, all between the center-right and the right.

Brazil, a country of 212 million inhabitants, it has about 147.9 million voters.

With a campaign colder than previous years due to the pandemic and with the economic crisis as a backdrop, analysts expect low participation. Although voting is mandatory, this year voters will be able to justify their absence online and the fine for not appearing without justification is less than the price of a bus ticket.

A recent survey by the Institute of Democracy revealed that the 53% of Brazilians were “little interested” in the vote and 27% said they were afraid to go to the polls because of the spread of covid-19, explained Oswaldo Amaral, one of the survey researchers.

“This does not mean a loss of support for the democratic regime, it is related to the circumstances,” he added.

Political scientist Déborah Thomé, from the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), ponders that Brazil experienced an election in 2018 marked by anti-political sentiment, something that could change with the pandemic.

“There is an understanding of the return of the role of the stateWith the pandemic, we need leaders who could lead policies. What we have heard is that there is more interest in traditional politicians, “he said.

At the same time that the PSL, which belonged to Bolsonaro, seems not to have consolidated as a political force, the left of the Workers’ Party (PT), of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, continues to cause high rejection rates and, generally without alliances with other progressive parties, it does not stand out in the campaigns either, Thomé said.

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