Lula da Silva (L) and Jair Bolsonaro.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (L) and Jair Bolsonaro. (AP)


LatAm in Focus: Kingmakers and Key Issues in Brazil's Lula-Bolsonaro Showdown

By Luisa Leme

Quaest pollster Felipe Nunes and John Hopkins’ Beatriz Rey cover the role of swing votes, social media, and secret budgets in October’s elections.

“What people are looking for is for someone who can actually fix the economy." —Felipe Nunes

Beatriz Rey

But the presidential seat isn’t the only post up for grabs in October. Brazilians will also choose all 27 governors, a third of the senate, and 513 representatives in the lower house. How these elections play out will be important for the next head of state, given an increasingly powerful—albeit fragmented—Congress and a shifting relationship between the legislative and executive branches. For example, Bolsonaro didn’t adopt the usual coalition-building behavior that has been the traditional centerpiece of lawmaking in Brazilian politics, explains Beatriz Rey, a fellow at Johns Hopkins University SNF Agora Institute and senior researcher at the Center for Studies on the Brazilian Congress at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Amid this change in checks and balances, Rey explains that it is hard to predict the congressional composition as well as the dynamics between the executive and legislative after the vote. “It will depend on who the president's going to be and who the speaker of the chamber is going to be.”

Executive Producer Luisa Leme produced this episode.

The music in this podcast was “Sarará” by Yamandu Costa performed for Americas Society. Learn more about upcoming concerts at