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In the Amazon, Bolsonaro’s Far Right May Retain Power Even if Lula Wins

After four years of a government that led the Amazon rainforest and other biomes to record levels of destruction, the world’s attention is on the Brazilian presidential elections in October this year. Since the 1988 Constitution federalized most environmental policies, experts hold the current president, Jair Bolsonaro, responsible for the exponential increase in deforestation in the world’s largest tropical forest.

According to data released in August by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 31,000 square kilometers (11,969 square miles) were destroyed from January 2019 to July 2022 — an area the size of Belgium.

But another crucial election for the future of the Amazon is underway. Along with choosing the president, Brazilians will also go to the voting booths on October 2 to choose state governors and members of Congress. In the presidential race, polls point to a change of scenario, with the left-wing and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead of Bolsonaro on his reelection bid.