The Week Ahead in Brazil #120

What is happening in Brazil?

1. Politics – The 7 September celebrations had a significant presence of people in several capitals of Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) attended the parade in Brasilia and then went to Rio de Janeiro, where he participated in celebrations and made speeches.

The presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, the Federal Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, and the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Luiz Fux, were invited to participate in the event in Brasilia but did not attend. On Thursday (8), Bolsonaro did not attend the celebration ceremony at the National Congress.

The latest FSB/BTG electoral survey shows Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) leading the voting intentions in the first round with 42% (-1pp), followed by Jair Bolsonaro (PL) with 34% (-2pp). The government is considered “bad/worst” by 46% (+1pp) of the population and “great/good” by 33% (-1pp). The disapproval rate is 57% (+2pp) and the approval rate is 38% (-2pp). The poll was conducted by telephone with 2,000 voters from 2 to 4 September.

The Ipec/Globo poll points out that Lula (PT) has 44% (stable) of voting intentions in the first round against Bolsonaro (PL), who has 31% (-1pp). The government is disapproved by 57% (stable) and approved by 38% (stable). The administration is considered “bad/bad” by 43% (stable), and “great/good” by 30%. The survey was conducted face-to-face with 2,512 voters between 2 and 4 September.

According to the PoderData survey, Lula (PT) has 43% (-1pp) and Bolsonaro 37% (+1pp). The disapproval index was 54% (stable) and approval 39% (+1pp). The poll interviewed 3,500 voters by telephone between 4 and 6 September.

The Quaest/Genial poll shows Lula (PT) with 44% (stable) and Bolsonaro (PL) with 34% (+2pp). The disapproval rate stood at 39% (-1pp) and the approval rate at 32% (+2pp). The poll heard 2,000 voters in person from September 1 to 4.

Here is a compilation of the electoral surveys:

 2. Economy – The official inflation (IPCA) fell 0.36% in August, after retreating 0.68% in the previous month. It is the lowest rate for August since 1998 (-0.51%). The information was released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). In August 2021, the IPCA stood at 0.87%. In the year to date, the IPCA is 4.39%, and in 12 months, 8.73%. (Valor)

The Confidence Index of Micro and Small Enterprises (IC-MPE), measured by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), reached 100.6 points in August. It is the best result since November 2013. (Valor)

3. Public administration – On Sunday (4), Federal Supreme Court’s (STF) Justice Luís Roberto Barroso suspended the effects of Law 14.434/2022, which established the national wage floor for nurses, nursing technicians and assistants, and midwives. The decision was made through an injunction. (Senado)

An analysis:

1. The political trend continues positive. The relationship between the Executive and the Legislative branches keeps creating a constructive environment for the policymaking process. Popular support is stable and somewhat high, as seen in the independency events. The electoral surveys show stability, but, in the margin, indicate the fall of Lula and the rise of Bolsonaro.

The most relevant political event of the week was the September 7 events. The question is: to what extent this event had an electoral impact? The turnout of citizens was massive, amplifying Bolsonaro’s parliamentary support and political strength. There were no major incidents, as feared by some analysis, and calls for a coup were minor and isolated. The main point, however, is that Bolsonaro did not make harsh remarks about the Brazilian electoral system, even with some criticism against the STF. Nor were there virulent attacks on Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

But not everything was smooth for Bolsonaro. He was heavily criticised by the press and other candidates due to his electoral campaign speeches. They accuse Bolsonaro of misusing public funds for electoral gains. The lack of presence of critical political actors in Brasília also raised concerns amongst his allies. At the end of the day, Bolsonaro was so much at ease, comfortable with de display of popular support, that he could afford not to show up at Congress for the continuity of the celebrations.

In that way, considering all aspects, the political result of the September 7 tends to be favourable to Bolsonaro, but the real effect will only be known in the next electoral polls.

2. The economy continues on a positive trend. August inflation data brought the accumulated figure for 12 months below two digits. Good news for the economy. Also worthy of note is the growth in the micro and small business confidence index. This means that small businessmen bet on the economy’s growth and intend to expand productive investments. In addition, micro and small businesses are great generators of employment.

3. The public administration presents a negative trend. There was strong repercussion on Justice Barroso’s decision. For jurists and political actors, the injunction seems an undue interference in the public policy-making process. Regardless of any evaluation of the public policy that establishes the minimum wage in question – whether it is adequate or not, whether it is influenced by ideologies or not – the suspension of the application of the law creates enormous legal insecurity in the Administration. Although the legal issues that Justice Barroso evaluated have merit, it is not a positive aspect that the Judiciary, through injunctions, interferes with the validity of ordinary laws and public policies made by the Legislature and Executive.

On Monday (12), at 5pm, the solemn session is scheduled for the swearing-in of Justice Rosa Weber as the new president of the Supreme Court (STF). She invited all candidates running for President.

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