Brazil renews mayors and measures the climate for the 2022 presidential elections

Eduardo Davis

Brasilia, Nov 14 (EFE) .- Almost 148 million Brazilians are summoned to the polls this Sunday to renew the mayors and councilors of 5,569 cities, in elections that can be a political thermometer for the presidential elections of 2022.

The municipal elections will be the first elections to be held in Brazil since the presidential elections of 2018, in which for the first time in the country’s history the far right came to power, embodied today by President Jair Bolsonaro.

However, this movement with a clear personalist profile shows the wear and tear of the last two years and the polls predict a resounding defeat for the candidates aligned with ‘Bolsonarismo’.

This, despite the fact that Bolsonaro fully devoted himself to the campaign through his social networks during the last week, which has cost him complaints for illegal propaganda, since he made use of transmissions made from the official residence of the Presidency, which it is vetoed by law.

Even so, all the polls predict victories for center and center-right parties in the country’s main cities, such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, which would be a hard blow for the ultraconservatives and also for a left down and divided from 2018.

TO THE URNS WITH A PANDEMIC THREATENING WITH THE SECOND WAVE

The municipal ones should have been held in October, but the electoral authorities postponed them due to the covid-19 pandemic, which broke into Brazil in February and already leaves 164,000 dead and 5.8 million infections.

Although now the incidence has been reduced, the daily data of deaths and new cases remain high and there are those who warn that Brazil may already begin to face a second wave, when it has not yet overcome the first.

In recent weeks the number of hospitalizations has risen in cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the most populated in the country, and the use of beds with respirators has increased in some areas of the north and northeast.

Voters and polling station members must respect all security protocols this Sunday and Justice warned that it will not allow those who do not wear masks or violate health regulations to vote.

Beyond the concern about the pandemic, in some regions certain episodes of violence that have occurred in recent days are disturbing, when a dozen candidates have emerged unscathed from attacks attributed to mafias and registered especially in Rio and Sao Paulo.

This Friday, José Cláudio Castro, candidate for councilor in the city of Correntina, in the state of Bahia, was killed with eight bullets, in a fact that the Police have not yet established if it was related to the elections.

In the northern state of Amapá, the authorities are awaiting possible protests over a prolonged blackout, which in some areas has imposed energy rationing and forced to suspend elections in Macapá, the regional capital.

THE MONUMENTAL NUMBERS OF AN ELECTION TO THE BRAZILIAN

Like any electoral process in a country with 210 million inhabitants and in which voting is mandatory, the 2020 municipal elections present monumental numbers, in keeping with the dimensions of Brazil.

There will be 147.9 million voters distributed in 5,569 cities, who will elect the same number of mayors and about 70,000 councilors.

According to the electoral authorities, almost 600,000 candidates have registered for these elections, of which 19,008 will contest the position of mayor.

The candidates represent 33 political parties registered in the electoral justice system, of which only three do not have seats in the national Congress.

The vote is fully automated and is exercised with electronic ballot boxes that began to be used gradually in 1996, for more than a decade they have been operating in all municipalities and allow consolidated results to be obtained in a matter of hours.

This Saturday, the authorities finished installing the little more than 500,000 electronic ballot boxes that will be used on Sunday, even in remote corners of the Amazon, to which in many cases they are transferred in ships with the custody of the Armed Forces, which on election day they will mobilize some 30,000 troops.

Bolsonaro has questioned the effectiveness of the electronic system and proposed to return to the old system of voting with paper cells, but the electoral Justice and Parliament itself are opposed.

The president of the Superior Electoral Court, Luis Barroso, said this week that, even, it is planned to advance in the automation of the vote and a method is being studied that, in the future, allows it to be exercised through a mobile phone.

According to Barroso, since 1996 the system has been ‘safe’ and ‘inviolable’ and in the more than two decades in which it has been used there has not been ‘a complaint of fraud’ in the scrutinies. EFE

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