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Presidential campaign materials displayed in Rio de Janeiro.

REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Brazil: “Whoever gets the most votes will win, period.”

Brazil is now just two months away from its most pivotal, polarizing and potentially destabilizing presidential election in decades.

The country’s current far-right president Jair Bolsonaro is likely to face off against his nemesis, the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro, who trails badly in the polls, has spent months raising baseless doubts about the integrity of Brazil’s centralized electronic voting system. Ominously, some members of the military have echoed those concerns, raising the prospect either of January 6 style violence after the vote, or a move by the military to interfere with the transfer of power. After all, just days ago, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Brasilia to ensure that the military is fully under control ahead of the Oct. 2 vote.

To better understand what’s at stake and why things feel so on edge in Brazil right now, we sat down with Silvio Cascione, a director in Eurasia Group’s Brazil practice. The interview has been lightly edited for concision and clarity.

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And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at Microsoft Today in Technology.

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