Project Management Report from São Paulo

The Brazilian elections and its reflection on project management



By Mauricio Lopes

International Correspondent

São Paulo, Brazil



Last month, the second round of the Brazilian presidential election was held and surprisingly the winner was a candidate who only a few years ago gained notoriety among the Brazilian population.

This is Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a 64-year-old who was born in Sao Paulo, but whose political base is located in Rio de Janeiro. He is a former military man and has been acting as a federal congressman for the last 24 years, politically projecting himself, strongly advocating the fight against violence and corruption in the country.

His character emerged concomitantly with the impeachment process of former President Dilma Rousseff two years ago and with the progress of the ‘Lava Jato Operation’ (the translation in English is ‘Car Wash Operation’).

The government of former President Dilma Rousseff was noted for its extremely low economic growth, increased public deficit, unemployment and many cases of corruption. In Brazil, between 2015 and 2016, the GDP declined by 3.5% respectively.

The Lava Jato Operation began in 2014 and it led to the arrestment of presidents of large Brazilian companies, politicians of many political parties, including former president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva. The success and magnitude of this operation was compared to the Clean Hands Operation in Italy in the 1970s.

Whoever would be the winner of this year’s election would have to face a country with a GDP in 2017 of 1.0% and projection to 2018 of 1.3%, 14 million unemployed citizens, serious problems of infrastructure, lack of internal and external investment (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch), large-scale violence led by well-organized criminal organizations, etc.

The successful trajectory of Jair Bolsonaro

Given this scenario, Jair Bolsonaro presented himself as a side-runner who strongly represented the right-wing, in a country where the election for president was absolutely polarized between left and right.

A Captain of the Brazilian Army, he began his political trajectory as a city councilor in Rio de Janeiro and was elected federal congressman for six times. Later he became the third most voted congressman in the history of Brazil.

The idea of his candidacy for president began after the election of Dilma Rousseff in 2014 as an expression against the continuity of the left in power. His position, which is clearly adverse to the situation prevailing in the country, resulted in an exponential increase in the numbers of his followers.

His campaign had minimum financial resources, with little support from other politicians and the joining of a small right-wing party (PSL). He used social networks such as Whatsapp and Facebook as the main tool to become known to the population.

During his presidential campaign he suffered an attempt on his life in a city called Juiz de Fora, when he was stabbed by a person in the crowd. Due to this attempt, which almost killed him, his popularity increased even more, and it allowed him to win the first round of the elections. He later won the second round with more than 57 million votes – almost 11 million more votes than his opponent.


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How to cite this report: Lopes, M. (2018). Project Management Report from São Paulo, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue XI – November.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/pmwj76-Nov2018-Lopes-brazil-regional-report.pdf


About the Author

Maurício Lopes

São Paulo, Brazil



Maurício Lopes, PMP is a Project Management Specialist. He is a PMP certified in 2000. He is a civil engineer with MBA in Project Management. He was one of the founders of the São Paulo PMI Chapter and Financial Director, Administrative Director, member of the Steering Committee from 1998 to 2003. He was vice-coordinator of the Project Management Division of the Engineering Institute of São Paulo from 1998 to 1999. Since 2004 Maurício Lopes has been speaking in project management courses for CPLAN, FATEC, INPG, IETEC and FIA. He has 20 years of experience in project management with main focus in the engineering & construction area.

Currently, Mauricio is associate director of M2L Project Management (www.M2L.com.br), a company specialized in project management consulting and implementation operating in over 40 large engineering & construction projects. Maurício Lopes is author of articles for Revista Grandes Construções, a magazine specialized in engineering & construction, and he has the main characteristics related to project management – lean, practical and systematic ways.

Mauricio is an International Correspondent for PM World in Brazil and can be contacted at [email protected].