Bloomberg Línea — Although support for democracy in Brazil has increased, many voters remain dissatisfied with Brazilian democracy.
According to an XP/Ipespe survey released in late February, 69% of Brazilians support democracy as a form of government, but 49% of them are dissatisfied with the state of the system in the country.
At the same time, 51% of those interviewed consider that “their voice is not heard at all” by decision makers, and 39% said that they “do not participate at all” in decisions on matters of importance to the country. Another 44% feel they participate “somewhat.”
According to political scientist Antônio Lavareda, professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco, the data show that even though Brazilians are dissatisfied with the operation of the political system and the management of the government, they don’t want a change to the system.
Several surveys have shown that voters are dissatisfied with the government, Congress, the performance of the economy, and the fight against the pandemic.
And the XP/Ipespe survey also shows that the majority of respondents are in favor of plebiscites for issues on which they have opinions, such as abortion, the death penalty and carrying guns.
“This shows a demand and an impetus for participation,” says Lavareda. “The set of responses tells us that Brazilians are ready and eager for direct participation mechanisms, and not just voting for candidates every two years,” he says. “That can be a way to revitalize our democracy.”
And political scientist Marco Teixeira, professor at FGV-SP, agrees. “Even if people are dissatisfied, the survey shows that they don’t necessarily want an authoritarian regime. The dissatisfaction with the work of institutions cannot be read as a will to end democracy,” he says.
Teixeira recalls President Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on the country’s institutions and the threats of disruption on September 7 last year, when, in São Paulo, the president said he would only leave office “in jail, dead, or with victory”.
“We don’t want a rupture, we don’t want to fight with any power, but we cannot accept that a person puts our freedom at risk,” Bolsonaro said at the time.
For Marco Teixeira, the survey results show that the September acts revived people’s interest in democracy and brought the issue back into debate. “This is important, given the risk of rupture that we saw in September, with tanks in the streets and authoritarian-toned speeches,” Teixera says.
Translated from the Portuguese by Adam Critchley