Brasilia – Three years after the election that promoted a major renewal in the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate, amidst anti-corruption wave that helped Jair Bolsonaro (PL) win the presidency, the balance of this period indicates that the same phenomenon should not occur in the election of 2022. The current legislature began with 243 federal deputies elected for the first time, corresponding to 47.3% of the seats in the Chamber. In the Senate, the change was even greater: of the 54 seats in dispute, 46 were occupied by newcomers, a group that took 85% of the seats.
But since then, the much-vaunted renovation has been limited to new faces. In these three years, several deputies and senators elected under the banner of pocketbookism ended up becoming opponents of the government, amidst a success of political crises. This happened, for example, with PSL parliamentarians, due to an internal split in the party by which the President of the Republic was elected. Without the support of Planalto, which involves, among other benefits, the release of amendments, many of these congressmen remained anonymous.
At the same time, what was seen in these three years was the strengthening of the so-called ‘old politics’, which pocketnarism promised to eradicate. The centre, for example, a party bloc with no defined ideological coloring and which traditionally supports governments, became even more powerful when it allied with Bolsonaro. With control of the allocation of funds from parliamentary amendments, especially those of the so-called secret budget, this group has privileged veteran politicians, who are gaining breath to try for reelection next year.
Another factor that can inhibit a major renewal in Congress is the value of the electoral fund, which was increased by Congress from R$2 billion to R$4.9 billion. The distribution of these resources, according to political analysts, should favor candidates who are in office.
The drop in popularity of the President of the Republic should also impact the results of the next proportional elections. Bolsonaro’s overt support for congressional candidates is unlikely to carry the same weight as it did three years ago. On the other hand, the favoritism of former president Luiz Incio Lula da Silva (PT) in the presidential race, pointed out by the intention to vote polls, may reflect positively on the campaigns of candidates from progressive parties in Congress. Furthermore, the idea of creating a federation of left-wing parties is another trump card in favor of this segment.
“The shelving of Lula’s processes gave great gas to the left, in general, and to the PT, in particular. The PT had popular support below 15%; today it reaches 28%. This will be translated into votes”, assesses Antnio Augusto Queiroz, political analyst and director of documentation at the Inter-union Department of Parliamentary Advice (Diap).
According to him, the progressive parties, united in a federation, will compete, in better conditions, for the so-called electoral surpluses – vacancies not filled by the electoral quotient. “Whoever has the most votes in the group benefits. For example, leftist parties, separated, would have 15 fewer seats than they would have together, as a federation,” says Queiroz.
Diap’s director also considers that conservative forces will have less force in 2022 than in the last election, because today, according to him, there is not the same climate of opposition to the political system, which was encouraged by Operation Car Wash, by the impeachment of the former president Dilma Rousseff (PT) and for the large street demonstrations.
In his turn, Professor Paulo Calmon, from the Political Science Institute of the University of Brasilia (UnB), predicts that the 2022 elections will have a plebiscitary character for pocket politics. “It is difficult to predict at this time, because we will be facing circumstances that are very different from those we faced in the last elections. But I would venture to say that the focus will be on managing the economy and the pandemic, putting the Bolsonaro government in check and making room for a major renovation in the Chamber of Deputies. In the Senate, where each state elects only one senator, changes tend to be smaller,” says Calmon.
According to the professor, the scenario for the Pocketinarians will be much more adverse in the next elections, because, “in addition to becoming a ‘showcase’, they will have to face not only the competition of a federation of leftist parties, but also of other leftist parties. center-right who rejected the alliance with the president’s supporters”.
Political scientist and researcher Leonardo Queiroz Leite draws attention to the possible impacts that the construction of a third way, formed by center-right parties, will have on proportional elections. “One issue that we have to observe is the strength that the so-called third way will have, especially after the affiliation of (former Lava Jato judge Sergio) Moro ao Podemos. It is a conservative, right-wing camp, but not a crude right, a strident, extremist, denial right, like the right that is with Bolsonaro”, analyzes Queiroz.
He also shares the view that 2022 should not be a positive year for candidates looking to peddle their Bolsonaro image. “It is necessary to observe the decline of Bolsonaro, which is increasingly evident, with failure rates, falling in popularity, in short. This tends to reflect on those congressional candidates who try to go with this wave, which, in my opinion, should be weaker than that wave of pocketbookism, anti-petism, lavajatism, which propelled Bolsonaro and a large caucus”, predicts the expert .