Brazil: a key election for the rights of the majority | Opinion

From Brasília

This Sunday the eyes of the world and the region will be on the elections in Brazil, where not only the future president is elected but the entire political system is also at stake. The current congress is renewed, which from the so-called Bancada BBB (Ox, Bullet and Bible) became the most conservative congress since the return of democracy in 1985. The Brazilian elections are played between hope and fear. Between a country for all and one that excludes the majority.

This new electoral contest will be remembered not only for the polarization between former President Ignacio Lula da Silva and the current president Jair Bolsonaro, who concentrate around 80 percent of the voting intentionbut also because of the high participation of women among the candidates.

dilma and after

Almost 34 percent of the candidates running for public office this year are women, more than 9,000 and in a country where there is no gender parity. It is the highest figure in history, and as if that were not enough, we must also add the weight of women as voters, since 52 percent of the voter registry is female.

In a country where few women held positions of power, after Dilma Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil, today there are four candidates who appear in the dispute for the presidency and where the female vote will be decisive.

On this election day, the vote of the women of the evangelical churches will be at the crossroads of voting for Bolsonaro, listening to the call of the pastors, or expressing themselves against violence and contempt for lifewhich is the main rejection against the current president that prevails among Brazilian women, according to surveys.

Although gender equality is a motto of this electoral campaign and in recent times the great news of these elections has been the denunciation of political violence against women, the proposals to address the issues that concern feminist groups and the diversity did not abound.

candidates

There are four presidential candidates running: Simone Tebetfor the Brazilian Democratic Movement, Vera Lucia Salgadofor the Socialist Party of Unified Workers; Soraya Thronickeby Union Brazil and sophia manzano, for the Brazilian Communist Party. Of these, only Lúcia (PSTU) and Manzano (PCB) defend the legalization of abortion. Thus, it is mainly women who sink an issue that is taboo even in the electoral campaign of the two favorite candidates, not only Bolsonaro but also Lula.

In this way, Brazil loses another opportunity to address some of the problems that affect at least one million women, such as the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy. According to data presented at a public hearing in the Federal Supreme Court in 2018, a woman dies every two days because of clandestine abortion and the victims are low-income, Afro-descendant women who have no access to the security of the clandestine clinics used by the country’s wealthiest women.

In Brazil you can only legally abort in case of rape, risk to the life of the mother or if the fetus is headless. In all other cases, women risk life in prison with sentences ranging from one to three years in prison.

Another issue that was conspicuous by its absence or had almost no treatment in this electoral campaign was femicides, where the current Bolsonaro government also reduced the funds allocated to the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights – it fell from 100.7 million from reais in 2020 to 30.6 million last year-.and where there are no public policies for the protection of women.

With an atypical scenario, this Sunday, October 2, Brazil will experience an election in which fear predominates and this is reflected in the results of a survey carried out by two NGOs, in which 67 percent of the Brazilian people say they are “afraid of being a victim of political violence”. And where, furthermore, it is feared that if there is a second round, the violence will increase, due to the position of Jair Bolsonaro who maintains that the electoral system does not work and that if he does not win it is because there was fraud.

In short, Lula’s electoral victory is important for the region and in Brazil these elections are critical for women, the LGBTQIA+ population, Black people, and the entire working class.

This year several actions were organized where women were protagonists and from a gender perspective they denounced the racism, machismo, homophobia and political violence that women parliamentarians in Brazil have suffered with greater intensity since the assumption in 2018 of the extreme right, represented by Jair Bolsonaro.

It is a historic election, where every vote counts for the defense of the rights of the working class and a popular, feminist and democratic project for Brazil.

Nevertheless Even with a victory for Lula Da Silva, one cannot stop being on alert Given that the flow of votes that Bolsonaro will retain shows us the setbacks in the democratic values ​​of an important portion of the Brazilian population and the need to retrace one path of denial of the other.

Director of the Electoral Observatory of the Permanent Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (COPPPAL)

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