SAO PAULO – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro declared on Sunday that the left had suffered a historic loss in the municipal elections, despite the defeat of most of the candidates backed by him.
“The left suffered a historic defeat in these elections, a clear signal that the conservative wave [that] arrived in 2018 [is here] to stay,” Bolsonaro claimed on Twitter.
In Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city, Celso Russomano, the candidate backed by the president, obtained just over 10% of the votes and was left out of the runoff that will take place on Nov. 29.
The current mayor Bruno Covas, of the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), will face former presidential candidate and leader of the Homeless Workers’ Movement, Guilherme Boulos, of the progressive Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), in the runoff.
In Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, the current mayor, Marcelo Crivella, obtained 21.8% of the votes, and will face center-right candidate Eduardo Paes, who obtained about 40% of the votes, in the runoff.
Paes is emerging as the big favorite as he is likely to inherit most of the votes obtained by the other candidates.
In addition to Russomano, “Bolsonarists” Bruno Engler in Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, and Colonel Menezes in Manaus, capital of Amazonas, also lost on Sunday.
Of the seven candidates that the president supported on Saturday in a post on his Facebook page, only two, Crivella and Wagner Sousa Gomes, known as “Captain Wagner,” in Fortaleza, reached the second round.
Bolsonaro also suggested that the results of the municipal elections are not a political thermometer for the presidential elections of 2022 citing the example of Sao Paulo, the most populous city in Latin America.
The president said that although the former governor of Sao Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, backed the candidate who won the 2016 municipal elections in Sao Paulo, two years later, when he ran for presidency, he only received 4.7% of the votes.
Bolsonaro, a critic of the electronic voting and counting systems, expressed confidence that by 2022 the country will consolidate its democracy with an improved electoral system.