Brazil Delays Municipal Elections Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Brazil delayed this year’s municipal elections by about a month as the country struggles to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s lower house of congress approved on Wednesday a constitutional amendment to postpone the first round of the election, initially scheduled to October, to Nov. 15. Run-off votes will take place on November 29th. The proposal, which had already been approved by the senate, is ready to be signed into law by the president of congress, Davi Alcolumbre, on Thursday.

The extension gives Brazil some extra time to prepare for an event that will be logistically challenging in a country hit hard by the pandemic. The number of confirmed cases stands at 1.4 million, the largest in the world after the U.S., according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Fatalities already surpassed 60,000 people.

A further delay would have been virtually impossible because a key article of the Brazilian constitution stipulates that elected mayors must assume power on January 1st.

While local issues are typically predominant in the municipal vote, this election is set to be the first big electoral test for allies of President Jair Bolsonaro as he approaches the half point of his four-year term. A looming question is whether his associates can still benefit from surfing on Bolsonaro’s far-right populist policies after the president’s popularity has lost traction and the country faces a severe economic and health crisis.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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