Brazil Briefing event

  • Constance Malleret

On Tuesday 12th June, Canning House was delighted to welcome Lucinda Elliott and Richard Lapper for a discussion about the situation in Brazil ahead of the October general elections. Lucinda Elliott is a journalist based in São Paulo, contributing to a number of publications, including The Times. Richard Lapper is an associate fellow at Chatham House and former Latin America editor for the Financial Times.

Alan Charlton, Canning House Trustee and former UK ambassador to Brazil, welcomed the audience and introduced the speakers.

The discussion that followed between Lucinda Elliott and Richard Lapper touched upon a number of recent developments, including the latest polls that put conservative candidate Jair Bolsonaro comfortably in the lead in a scenario in which Lula doesn't run, and the truck drivers' strike engineered over Whatsapp that brought the country to a halt last month. The speakers also drew out the three main factors that preoccupy the electorate and have so far shaped the election debate: corruption, organised crime and violence, and the economy.

Questions and comments from the audience covered a number of issues, including who Lula would most likely back if he cannot run, and the likelihood of an outsider winning, in part thanks to the increasingly important role played by social media, rather than a more conservative outcome which would see a political insider elected to the presidency.

As chair, Alan Charlton concluded by emphasising this last point: the uncertainty of this election is such that we do not know whether it will be a new kind of election for Brazil, dominated by social media, or whether things will ultimately stay the same, with voters turning to a candidate from an established party.

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