Brazilian’s go to the polls on Sunday in the second run-off against Fernando Haddad. He has a massive lead in this two-horse race and it seems almost impossible for Haddad to now catch him.
I punted on Fernando Haddad to win as I believed Jair Bolsonaro’s first round performance would be much lower (46%) and the gap between him and Fernando Haddad (29%) would be much closer.
I called it completely wrong and realised I don’t really know enough about Brazilian politics or Brazil to really contribute anything to the debate. Therefore, I won’t really write much here except express my sadness and concern for the direction Brazil is moving in.
It would be a massive political shock if Haddad wins and it could lead to civil unrest in Brazil. However, this seems very unlikely given all the recent polling.
I will follow next Monday though I really can’t see anything other then a Bolsonaro win now. The question is how much of what Bolsonaro has said up until today is bluster and bravado and how much of it does he intend to follow through on.
If the latter is the case, Brazil is in for a very, very challenging few years…
A lot has happened since I last wrote about Brexit in July but very little has changed. There have been numerous occasions where I thought; “this is it” regarding either a major breakthrough or the end of Theresa May’s premiership.
However, each the expectations of a Brexit breakthrough rose, they have quickly dissipated as further sources pour scorn on earlier reports. Equally, whenever the threats to Theresa May or the calls for her to stand aside reach fever pitch, a compromise is reached, or a belligerent political actor backs down.
On a Brexit deal, it does seem that there has been slight progress made since July though the Irish border remains a stumbling block. I’ve previously written about a buildup of ill-will and energy that will lead to a political earthquake and heads rolling. I still believe this may have to be the case as the compromises needed can not be reached without major climbdowns from either Theresa May, Leo Varadkar or Arlene Foster.
I It does appear the Irish border can be solved through a compromise that protects the all-island economy and avoids a hard border through a combination of transition extensions, full UK-wide participation in a customs union and the threats of an early British General Election…
At this stage in the negotiations, I finally believe Teresa May and Olly Robbins know the rough parameters of what a deal entails and where the Britain ends up post-Brexit. Despite May’s strong rhetoric, it is likely she privately acknowledges further East/West checks are necessary though I do believe her when she says she would never sign up to a full economic Irish Sea border.
Her challenges in securing this deal are obvious to most followers of British politics. She will either need the support of the great majority of the Conservative Party MPs and the ten votes of the Democratic Unionist Party or she will need considerable support from Labour MPs.
It will be almost impossible for her not to have some rebel hard Brexiteers if she continues down the current line of negotiations and ends up with a deal roughly along her “Chequers+” plan.
There are currently 50 MPs who are publicly part of a “Stand Up 4 Brexit” campaign that explicitly rejects Theresa May’s “Chequers+” plan. What is not clear is whether this simply a political lobbying group or if the majority will vote down a deal when the Meaningful Vote comes back to parliament.
It does look more likely that full customs participation will be included, and this has raised considerable dissent from with the cabinet and wider parliamentary party. Equally though, it does make it more likely that Labour MPs could support it, especially those who would like to further undermine the authority of Jeremy Corbyn. They would have legitimate reasons for doing so as while Labour have been very, very vague on their alternative Brexit plan, they have consistently said they want a customs union with the EU.
I want to predict that we are at the point where Theresa May shows decisive leadership and decision making and stands up to the brexiteers and the DUP and we get clarity of her direction and strategy. This then either leads to a deal or her toppling, hence the title of the article.
However, I think the uncertainty will continue for a few more weeks as the gargantuan, emotionless python that is the realities of Brexit continues to slowly crush and asphyxiate the demands for a Canada+ Deal or the threats of DUP bringing down the government.
I also can’t see Labour being having the unity to topple the government by voting down the deal and forcing an early general election. They are too divided and weak on Brexit.
Finally, to predictions, I do believe a deal will be reached by mid-December at the latest that will keep the Irish border open. I believe May will survive to somehow get it voted through parliament with some cross-party amendments that solidify the UK’s position in a customs union.
It is harder to predict when her premiership will end but I believe she will still be the UK Prime Minister on January 1st, 2019, at least. It will be in her interests to keep some negotiations necessary for January and February next year so that she can fend off any leadership bids until post Brexit date and hope the public thank her in the polls afterwards.
The question will be whether the DUP can spin this as a political win. So far, they have railed against every single mooted potential divergence between Norther Ireland and Britain. This is foolish and risky. They are still the biggest wild card in my predictions as they could force that early election that I don’t believe will happen. However, I think it is more likely the MPs will turn on Arlene Foster and replace her sooner rather than later as a symbolic aggressive backlash against their ultimate political impotence.
Of course, nothing has gone to plan for the UK so far in negotiations and Brexit predictions are a mug’s game. I just don’t think Labour or the Conservatives want a no deal Brexit or the next general election to be fought on Brexit either. Therefore, realpolitik will eventually dictate that a deal is done and chaos doesn’t ensue…
On Sunday, Brazilians go to the polls to vote for their next President. Brazil has been struggling economically for quite some time and there is a lot of anger, disillusionment and hunger for change on the streets.
I have been following the election build up quite closely in recent months. It is a very interesting campaign with a former great, angry new voices and relative unknowns trying to emerge as the future leader. However, the intricacies of the Brazilian politics will be left to others with more knowledge to write about and I will focus mostly on the polling and data aspects with reference to events where it is relevant.
The far right, populist candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has led every poll in 2018 that didn’t include Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula, the former President who is not allowed to run but who PT (his party) had hoped would be able to find a way around the Supreme Court ruling. He is the favourite ahead of Sunday’s election and is still slowly creeping upwards to reach 32% in two of the most recent polls.
His main rival appears to be Fernando Haddad of the PT party, who was initially meant to be Lula’s running mate but in the last two months has become the party’s official candidate. He is a former mayor of Sao Paulo.
When Lula officially withdrew from the race on September 12th, Haddad was languishing on around 10% in the polls in third place, also behind Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labour Party. Since then, he has climbed consistently in the polls and is now floating between 20% and 24%. This puts the gap at approximately 10%.
However, the crucial point is that if no candidate gets 50%+1 of the votes in the first round, there will be a second round run off on October 28th. While, Bolsonaro is slowly climbing, it is still highly unlikely that he will experience a large enough late surge to claim a majority.
The polls also conduct potential second round run-offs and these have been very close, either placing both candidates on the same percentage of giving a 1-2% lead to Bolsonaro.
It looks very likely that Bolsonaro will creep up a further point or two between now and voting on Sunday, while the same may be the case for Haddad.
I am quite confident that Bolsonaro will come first but will not win a majority, I am more concerned about Bolsonaro’s total and the gap between him and Haddad. As mentioned earlier, Haddad is still quote close in the second round run offs, but this can change very quickly if the Brazilian public perceive Bolsonaro to be the President in waiting.
Therefore, I think Haddad needs to finish within 10% points of Bolsonaro, while also keeping Bolsonaro’s total below 35%. In this scenario there would still be 40% of the electorate to fight for with Haddad needing to win two thirds of these to finish ahead.
I backed the incumbent but controversial Milos Zeman to win the Czech Presidential election in January earlier this year after he finished the first round on 38.6% to Jiri Drahos’ 26.6%. The next 4 candidates all supported Drahos but Zeman had enough of a lead to narrowly win the second round. The situation is slightly different here as Bolsonaro is not an incumbent and the other candidates will not all support Haddad but it is very difficult to win a second round run off if your opponent is close to 40% and you are 10% behind.
Another crucial factor will be who, if anyone, receives the endorsement of Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. He is currently polling at around 7-10%. His economic policies would be much closer to those of Bolsonaro’s but it may be hard to endorse the man given his long list of controversial statements.
So, in summary, I will be keeping an eye out on three things next Monday; Bolsonaro’s total %, his lead over Haddad and the comments of the other then eliminated candidates. I will write a follow up closer to the second round run off as well (provided there is one).