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Yearbook 2018

Brazil. As expected, Jair Bolsonaro was elected new president in the second round of the presidential election on October 28, with just over 55% of the votes cast, against just under 45% for competitor Fernando Haddad of the Labor Party (PT). According to opinion polls, the most popular candidate and former president Lula da Silva, in prison following a conviction for corruption, were not allowed to stand. He handed himself over to police in early April in dramatic forms.

2018 Brazil

According to, Bolsonaro, a former military officer, had made himself known for a series of homophobic, sexist, racist and media hostile statements as well as tributes to the military dictatorship of 1964–85. The whole year was also characterized by upset feelings from both sides, although Bolsonaro muted the tone slightly the closer the election day came. Most of his constituents, however, seemed to pay more attention to his speech on combating corruption and crime - two phenomena that haunted Brazil for many decades. Bolsonaro's victory was explained not only by PT's failures in these areas but also by a deteriorating economy. A series of corruption scandals have also persecuted the party for many years since Lula was elected president in 2002 and lowered Haddad's credibility.

The election was preceded by a tumultuous and highly polarized election campaign. Human rights activist Marielle Franco was murdered in mid-March, and Bolsonaro himself was stabbed during an election in early September. The election also meant a marked right turn in Brazilian politics after four consecutive presidential elections for PT. By contrast, Bolsonaro's campaign message was little concrete and often contradictory, which together with controversial statements by his co-workers that he was forced to modify, made it difficult for voters and analysts to really know what kind of policy he will follow. Both Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Greenpeace expressed concern that human rights and environmental issues will be in danger.

At the same time as the presidential election, governor elections were held, which together reflected both the presidential and congressional elections. PT won four governor posts in the Northeast but lost, among others, in the populous state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro's own small Social Liberal Party (PSL) won in three fairly peripheral states, while the established parties Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) and Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) lost half of their governor posts. However, PSDB won in the important São Paulo. In the Chamber of Deputies, PT lost 13 seats but remains the largest party with 56 seats, with the PSL just below with 52 seats. In the Senate, PT's loss was even greater, from 13 to four seats, and thus has as many as Bolsonaro's PSL. PSDB and MDB also declined in Congress but are still major parties.

A catastrophic fire destroyed September 2 of Brazil's 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Of the museum's 20 million objects from ancient Egypt and Rome as well as from Latin American origin civilizations, 90% were destroyed. Strong criticism was directed at President Michel Temer for cuts in the cultural budget that led to inadequate maintenance of the building.

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