Tag Archives: Elections

On Brazil’s Choice of Extreme Right

The success of Brazilian populist leader Bolsonaro is termed as a classic case of ‘protest vote’ by the disillusioned middle classes with the leader ‘playing grievance politics’ … 

Brazil’s evangelical Christians have emerged as an increasingly powerful political force, as confirmed in the highly polarised presidential and congressional elections held on 28 October. Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right member of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) and former army captain, is Brazil’s next president, with 55.7 percent of votes. Fernando Haddad, Bolsonaro’s closest opponent and the large leftist Workers’ Party’s (PT) replacement for Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, failed to secure majority. Although Haddad promised to restore the economy to its former state of health under Lula’s presidency from 2003 to 2010, most of the Brazilians have little faith left in the country’s political class after numerous high-level corruption scandals surfaced since 2014 as part of the Lava Jato, or Car Wash, anti-graft probe and other interlocking investigations, which also involved Lula who is now serving 12 years in jail and was barred from running in this election.

While Bolsonaro’s victory has been referred to as a political earthquake, a disaster for the Amazon and global climate change and a blow to antifascist activists, the Brazilians have clearly made their choice for the extreme right. Significantly, about 147 million Brazilians headed to polls against a backdrop of widespread dissatisfaction prompted by a stuttering economy, worsening violent crime rates and several recent high-profile corruption scandals. While it is South America’s largest economy, a regional powerhouse and is part of the so-called five-member ‘BRICS’ group of major emerging economies alongside Russia, India, China and South Africa, Brazil is nevertheless battling several threatening challenges amidst increased unrest and widening polarisation among the country’s citizens. Beginning in mid-2014, a more than two-year deep recession rocked the country and stagnated growth. Continue reading

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Filed under Accountability, Brazil, Corruption, Discussion, Economy, Human Rights, Immigration, Pakistan Horizon, Police, United States

The 2014 General Election in India and its Impact on the Region

Professor Lawrence Sáez spoke at the PIIA on 25 November 2014. His talk was reported in Dawn: see BJP appeasing non-Hindutva voters to broaden support base. The talk is summarised below.

The 2014 general election in India is historically important because it provided the winning Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with a convincing parliamentary majority in India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. The mandate given to prime minister Narendra Modi will enable his administration to govern unencumbered by fickle coalition coalition partners. The BJP victory raises some concerns about possible policy hardening by Mr Modi, a controversial and polirising figure in Indian politics. Narendra Modi’s dictatorial style of governance and his inaction at controlling riots against Muslims in Gujarat have tarnished his state’s economic success as chief minister of Gujarat.

An analysis of the 2014 general election shows that Narendra Modi’s appeal may extend beyond a core nucleus of extreme Hindu nationalists and cosmopolitan business groups. Since last leading a government ten years ago, the BJP has learnt how to broaden its appeal. Continue reading

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Filed under BJP, Congress, Events, India