Researcher says that Bolsonaro bets ‘all the chips’ on acts and that the president’s relationship with the right is ‘fragile’

SAO PAULO — A scholar of the new Brazilian right, political scientist Camila Rocha believes that the relationship maintained by liberals and conservatives with President Jair Bolsonaro is “very fragile”. The group is unhappy with the direction of the economy and high inflation and believes that political instability only makes things worse. Despite this, there is a more radical part of this right that should take to the streets on the 7th. These are people who think that the Supreme Court (STF) and Congress act “to harm the government”. For Camila, Bolsonaro is “betting all his chips on this demonstration”.

How is the relationship between Bolsonaro and the right today?

Very fragile. With the pandemic, it got worse. The government is heavily dependent on forces that are not organized via institutional policy, such as the Armed Forces and the police, and another that is even politically organized, such as some sectors of evangelicals, but whose support is conditioned to meeting certain demands.

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Pro-market groups supported the election, but there is a crisis between the financial sector and the government. Why?

Bolsonaro is delivering little on what he promised. The main thing, for the market, is the economic result. Inflation soared, and that’s very important to them. But that doesn’t mean that all this institutional wear and tear isn’t relevant. They know that, in order to reach some level of economic stability, a minimum of political stability is essential. People’s view is that (Paulo) Guedes (Economy Minister) does not have the power they would like him to have.

Bolsonaro has been betting on September 7 as a show of political strength. Which part of the right will embark on the acts?

The hard core of the pocketbook, which we estimate is between 12% and 15% of the electorate. They are part of a more radical right, but there are people who are not necessarily extremists, who see the STF as a Court in concert with the left, which acts to harm the government. They feel that Bolsonaro ends up being pressured by a corrupt Congress and has to give in to stay in power. And there is an important sector that is the Military Police, historically politically ignored by both the left and the right. They have repressed labor demands and see Bolsonaro as a voice that at least seems to echo their demands.

Can this right that is currently unhappy with Bolsonaro support another candidate in 2022?

There are people looking for an alternative candidacy. But it’s too early to tell. It depends on a number of things, such as forming alliances, vice, other candidacies.

In an eventual runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro, how does this group stand?

There will be those who will vote null, who will campaign against Bolsonaro. But people on the right tend to say, “Look, as much as I’m disappointed in Bolsonaro, I’ll vote for him because he’s going to be the least bad.”

The new right is the focus of his book, “Less Marx, more Mises: liberalism and the new right in Brazil”. How would you define this group?

It is a new political force that began to form in the first Lula government, in the middle of the period in which the monthly allowance scandal broke out. They make a more radical defense of the free market, elimination of constitutional and labor rights, and a much more programmatic conservatism than was previously advocated by the traditional right. They also think that coalition presidentialism should be replaced by another form of government, such as semi-parliamentaryism, parliamentarism or even monarchy.

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What is the proportion of this new right in the electorate?

It is difficult to be precise, but, to give an example, Arthur do Val, from MBL, had more than 10% of the votes for mayor in São Paulo, and Joice Hasselman had 2%. So, at least in São Paulo, 15% of people preferred candidates from this new right.

What is the scenario to the right if Bolsonaro leaves the presidency?

I tend to think that the new right, in a scenario without Bolsonaro, ends up being strengthened. It’s much better for her, because Bolsonaro is an obstacle to the new right. Bolsonaro leaves no room for divergence, for plurality in the field of rights. He fires people (who disagree with him), abandons allies. It’s not someone you can write with. Bolsonaro’s stay is fatal for the new right.