Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the message of congratulating him on the victory achieved in the Brazilian presidential elections of 2018.

Jair Bolsonaro was elected the next president of Brazil with 55.13% of valid votes and defeated his rival candidate Fernando Haddad, who achieved 44.87%.

“Vladimir Putin sent a message of greetings to Jair Bolsonaro for the victory in the presidential elections of the Federatiion Republic of Brazil,” the Kremlin wrote in a statement.

Putin’s congratulations should be understood as basic and respectful statesmanship, and not an endorsement of Bolsonaro. This is the standard norm in the world, even though many in the U.S are generally surprised at this, as U.S presidents generally only congratulate those they have hand in installing themselves.

At the same time, Russia will be looking to see to what extent Brazil will further align with the U.S following this election, as this also calls into question the future status of BRICS.

Bolsonaro thanked Putin’s message on his Twitter.

Bolsonaro will be the 38th president of the country. He interrupted a cycle of PT (Worker Party) victories, who have won the elections for the Planalto Palace since 2002.

But corruption allegations and the inability for the PT to overcome Brazil’s endemic class contradictions through its short-sighted social-democratic, opportunist and reformist policies led to a backlash. This backlash was compounded by the over-reliance of the PT on 1st world based conceptions of new-leftism, which warmed the hearts of professionals, sub-elites, and academics, but increasingly alienated majority segments of the working class not tied to the traditional pillars of bureaucratic power such as labor unions. 

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Meanwhile, the second round of the Brazilian elections has had the biggest abstention since 1998: 31,370,372 of Brazilians did not go to the polls on Sunday. This total represents 21.3% of the Brazilian electorate. In addition, there were 2,486,571 (2.14%) of blank votes and 8,607,999 (7.43%) of void votes.

Antônio Marcelo Jackson, a political scientist at UFOP – Federal University of Ouro Preto – attributes this rate to “lack of information” on the candidates’ proposals, since there was no debate between Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad during the second round.

Already the percentage of null votes in the second round of presidential elections in 2018 reached 7.4%, the highest since 1989, totaling 8.6 million. It was a 60% increase over the 2nd round of the last presidential election in 2014, when 4.6% of votes were annulled.

Antônio Marcelo Jackson calls attention to the region where the majority of voters are concentrated, who decided not to choose any of the candidates in those elections.

“When you look at the map of abstentions, this percentage was actually very strong in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. It’s an interesting fact when you go to the Northeast, South and North of the country, white abstainers and the voters are a much smaller index. It was the voter of the Southeast who was disinterested,” he said.

The Brazilian electorate however has grown tired of ‘half solutions’ as well as the ‘end of history’ triumphalism of the new-left reformist and social-democratic ‘left’, which so strongly believed that the days of the military dictatorship were so far behind, and so impossible to re-impose, that these same forces in academia, popular culture, and the media continually trounced, shamed, and denounced these ‘deplorables’ who maintained some sentiments towards the dictatorship period.

Rampant capitalism and privatization, the degradation of the public sector combined with a ‘left’ that focused on identity political themes, meta-political themes, and ‘mass culture’ (such as LGBT, trans inclusion, etc.); a left that failed to organize around really pertinent socio-economic conditions, led to this ‘reactionary wave’ that led to Bolsonaro’s victory. This, combined with notable support from the Trump administration and his ‘officially unofficial’ foreign political organizer, Bannon.

All of this now brings the entire BRICS arrangement further into question. While India has shown in recent months that it is ‘back on track’ with its multipolar obligations, Brazil now – since the coming of Temer and now Bolsonaro – is on unstable ground in terms of its relationship to the falling unipolar American model and the rising multipolar world order.

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