“There’s more going on than Bolsanaro winning the first round by a big margin though. A big part of Bolsonaro’s appeal is the fact that he’s not part of the political establishment that has so wholly lost its credibility in recent years. But it is also because he’s got a credible plan for how to deal with two of Brazil’s most urgent economic problems: the cost of its pension system and its stock of debt. Tackling those issues has probably become harder as a result of this election. His party has won a bigger bloc in Congress than they previously had and the terrible results of some of the other parties might mean he gets some defections, which should help him.
“But overall, power within Congress is now going to be split amongst a larger number of parties. This is going to make the necessary horse trading that is part and parcel of Brazilian politics harder. While Brazil has undergone a big shift in terms of party politics, nothing has changed the patronage system, which Bolsonaro is going to have to master very quickly to advance his agenda.”