Lula versus Bolsonaro is a complete style opposition, Messi and Ronaldo, Squirtle or Bulbasaur and Nintendo-Sega. A week before one of the most polarized presidential elections in the history of Brazil, the programs of the two favorites remain vague on certain aspects, but clearly stand out on issues such as purchasing power, the environment or the security.
According to a survey by the Datafolha institute published on Thursday, the former left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has increased his lead over the current head of state Jair Bolsonaro (extreme right), from 12 to 14 points, and is relaunching his chances of winning in the first round. Since we are nice, we summarize the main measures announced by the two candidates.
The purchasing power
We start with the most important in this period of inflation, the purchasing power in a country of 213 million inhabitants with monster inequalities, with more than 33 million people suffering from hunger and 9.9 million people Unemployed.
To improve the purchasing power of the poorest, Bolsonaro relies on the allocations of the “Auxilio Brasil”, a new version of the “Bolsa Familia”, a flagship social program of the Lula years (2003-2010). The amount of this allowance has increased from 400 reais (around 80 euros) to 600 reais this year. In its official program, it gives pride of place to job creation, especially for young people and women. The far-right president also promises to increase the share of the population exempt from income tax, to further improve the infrastructure of less developed areas and to implement more privatizations.
Lula, for his part, pledges to launch a new “Bolsa Familia”: in addition to 600 reais from the “Auxilio Brasil”, families would receive 150 reais for each child under six. To improve purchasing power, he is betting in particular on an increase in the minimum monthly wage (currently at 1,212 reais, 240 euros) “above inflation”, without specifying the amount. It also undertakes to set up a program to help the 70% of Brazilian families in debt to reschedule their repayments. Lula also intends to “strengthen social protection” by returning to the reform of the labor code adopted in 2017.
Environment and Amazonia
Much criticized by the international community for his environmental policy, Bolsonaro is committed to continuing military operations supposed to fight against deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon, which have increased sharply under his mandate. Its program evokes “measures to reduce greenhouse gases”, while recognizing that the fight against climate change is “inexorable” to preserve the future of the planet.
Statements greeted with skepticism by experts: the head of state is openly in favor of the expansion of mining activities in the Amazon, including in protected areas such as indigenous reserves.
Lula, for his part, pledges to implement a zero-tolerance policy against illegal gold panning, deforestation and fires in the largest tropical forest on the planet. In particular, he intends to rely on public bodies for the preservation of the environment such as Ibama, affected by major budget cuts under Bolsonaro.
Lula promises to “restore” Brazil’s international aura, by strengthening “South-South” cooperation with Latin America and Africa, as well as ties with the Brics and other Mercosur countries. He also undertakes to travel to “reestablish links with all European countries (…), China and the United States”.
Bolsonaro, he is betting on new “bilateral and multilateral” agreements and on Brazil’s entry into the OECD.
Bolsonaro pledges to increase the military and police budget, while further easing access to firearms. Lula promises a “new drug policy”, to put an end to the strategy of perpetual “war” against gangs. He wants to prioritize in-depth investigations and targeted actions to dismantle organized crime.
Lula promises to defend “the rights and territories of indigenous peoples”. He also undertook to create a “Ministry of Indigenous Peoples” and to appoint an indigenous person to head it.
His program also includes social and security measures to defend the LGBT+ community in a country heavily affected by homophobic violence, as well as an increase in racial and social quotas in universities.
Bolsonaro, on the other hand, does not mention the LGBT+ community in his program and defends a “responsible use” of natural resources, by “reconciling environmental preservation and sustainable growth”, including in indigenous reserves.