“In Eurasian Group we have argued on many occasions that the region has not only faced slow growth, but also the frustrated expectations of the middle class”indicates the global political risk consultancy in a recent report.
The agency indicates that the region experienced an increase in its middle class during the commodity boom era (2004-2012), which came with greater demands for public health, safety and education services that were difficult to cover.
“Polls have shown that voters have associated poor public services with corruption, which has consistently led to low levels of trust in institutions such as the media, the judiciary, political party leaders and the political class in general”details.
This situation led to the election of leaders with markedly anti-system credentials such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico during 2018.
Eurasian Group considers that this sentiment persists in the electorate. The agency in its report cites a comparative investigation of public opinion, carried out by Ipsos in 25 countries during 2021, where it tries to measure the extent to which voters consider that “the system is broken.”
“The results speak for themselves. Four Latin American countries top the index list”, he points out. These are Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil.
Nevertheless, Eurasian Group considers that the evidence suggests that having anti-establishment credentials remains an essential political asset in the current environment.
“A quick look across Latin America illustrates the point. The region’s leaders have been hit hard by the pandemic in a region where the effects were felt particularly strongly, followed by global inflation that mainly affected lower-income families.adds Eurasia Group.
Despite this, the leaders who currently have the highest approval in the region are López Obrador and Bolsonaro, who hold a better position than their peers in Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador.
“It’s no coincidence that they both have anti-system credentials, while the rest of their peers don’t”precise.
That is why, despite the fact that, according to the calculations of the Eurasia Group, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has a 65% probability of winning the presidency of Brazil, Bolsonaro still has chances to emerge victorious.
“Conventional wisdom among opinion leaders in Brazil indicates that the president could win re-election despite his so-called strategic mistakes (attacking the judiciary, the conventional media, and questioning the effectiveness of electronic voting). However, that diagnosis is wrong. Yes, Bolsonaro made some strategic mistakes — especially during the pandemic — but he is a competitive candidate precisely because his presidential style combats conventional institutions”says Eurasia Group.
This diagnosis has significant repercussions for the October presidential election, such as the risk that it will be much closer and that there will be governance challenges for 2023. “It also suggests that the Bolsonaro phenomenon will not disappear from the political arena in Brazil, even if he loses the election.”.