Brazil Local Elections: November 15, 2020 (Second Round: November 29, 2020)

A view of São Paolo. With a population of more than 12 million, Sao Paolo is the biggest city in both the western and southern hemispheres. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Rodrigo.Argenton (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Freedom House Rating

Government Type
Federal Presidential Republic
211.7 million
Municipal Elections
November 15, 2020 (Second round: November 29, 2020)
Presidential, Legislative, and State Elections
October 2, 2022
Presidential, Legislative, and State Elections
October 7, 2018
Municipal Elections
October 2, 2016

Brazil will hold municipal elections on November 15, 2020, with a second round on November 29, 2020. Voters will elect mayors and councils in all of the country’s 5,570 municipalities.

Political Context

Brazil’s elections are taking place in the context of increasing polarization. Moreover, COVID-19 has further exacerbated the country’s polarization. For background: the 2018 elections in Brazil swept controversial right-wing populist firebrand Jair Bolsonaro into the presidency.

Christopher da Cunha Bueno Garman at the Eurasia Group notes: “Bolsonaro was elected on an antiestablishment platform that tapped into deep public disenchantment with institutions such as congress, courts, and the media. His decision to continue with his provocative rhetoric while in government has generated considerable animosity with these institutions; until this year, he neglected to even attempt creating a congressional working majority.”

Bolsonaro, sometimes dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics,” ran against a political establishment notorious for corruption. However, his attitudes toward race and gender, and his attacks on the media, have raised concerns among many Brazilians. The country remains deeply polarized between right and left.

Curated News and Analysis

RioOnWatch: 2020 Municipal Elections: Get to Know Rio’s Mayoral Candidates

Ryan C. Berg, Foreign Policy (October 5, 2020): Bolsonaro’s Brush With the Coronavirus Empowered Him

Eduardo Campos Lima, Crux (September 30, 2020): Brazilian priest serving addicts in São Paulo’s ‘Crackland’ faces threats

Flávia Fariia, Guilherme Garcia, and Ranier Bragon, Folho de São Paolo (September 28, 2020): Municipal Election Has Record Number of Female Candidates and, for The 1st Time, More Blacks than Whites

Vinod Sreeharsha, Wall Street Journal (September 13, 2020): Covid-19 Batters Brazil, but Its Leader Is More Popular Than Ever

Matias Spektor, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (April 28, 2020): Brazil: Polarizing Presidential Leadership and the Pandemic

Bryan Harris, Financial Times (September 18, 2019): Legacy of corruption fuels renewal movement in Brazil – RenovaBR wants to train ethical politicians but many are sceptical of its motives

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content, and their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Updated October 21, 2020

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