Brazil’s Bolsonaro braced for uphill reelection battle as polls show public looking to Lula

Polling shows Jair Bolsonaro losing to ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in October’s vote as criticism grows over his handling of Covid and the Amazon in a tenure marked by callousness and chaos, writes Andrew Naughtie

Sunday 10 April 2022 13:15 BST
Jair Bolsonaro could be on the way out
Jair Bolsonaro could be on the way out (AFP/Getty)

Of all the ascendant autocrats who have flexed their muscles over the last decade, only one can lay claim to a global reputation that rivals that of Donald Trump.

Others have been more cunning, more brutal and more successful at warping their countries’ institutions around them, but nonetheless, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro – proudly intolerant, perpetually antagonistic and openly affectionate toward a dictatorship that tortured and disappeared thousands of his countrymen – sits in a class of his own.

And yet, in just over six months, Bolsonaro’s reign may come to an end. The president’s popularity has shown little sign of recovery since the worst of the country’s catastrophic bout with Covid-19, which he badly mismanaged, effectively sabotaging the rollout of vaccines while spreading misinformation about the virus. His government’s approval rating currently sits at 26 per cent.

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