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U.S | Bolsonaro, Lula appear headed for runoff in Brazil presidential race English Headline


Brazil’s next president will be decided in an October runoff election between the top two contenders, President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after neither surpassed the 50% of votes needed to win the crowded race outright Sunday. 

Da Silva, the leftist Workers’ Party candidate, earned the most support of the 11 candidates with 48% of votes, while right-wing incumbent Bolsonaro followed closely behind with 43.6% — with 98% of the votes tallied. 

The two opposing candidates will go head-to-head again in a high-stakes runoff scheduled for Oct. 30 — the finale of what has been a highly polarized election season. 

The runoff will be a test of whether a far-right leader can keep hold of the democracy’s highest position for another four-year term or if Brazilians will turn back to the left-wing leadership it knew before Bolsonaro. 

Bolsonaro, a 67-year-old member of the conservative Social Liberal Party, was elected in 2018 and has repeatedly insisted that he would win the election — going so far as to suggest the election would be fraudulent if he did not.  

His hints of not accepting the election results came as polls predicted da Silva, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, would beat Bolsonaro by around 10% of votes. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves to supporters as he is surrounded by his security.
AP/Andre Penner
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva,
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is running for president again, waves upon his arrival to a polling station.
AP/Marcelo Chello

The Sunday night results ended up much tighter than those polls predicted and the runoff election remains a tossup. 

“It is too soon to go too deep, but this election shows Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018 was not a hiccup,” Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in Sao Paulo, said. 

Bolsonaro earned greater votes in Brazil’s southeast region which includes Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states, according to Rafael Cortez, who oversees political risk at consultancy Tendencias Consultoria.

“The polls didn’t capture that growth,” Cortez said.

The incumbent’s popularity has soured among many in the country as he dismantled protections for the Amazon rainforest, allegedly botched the country’s COVID-19 response and 33 million Brazilians are going hungry. 

Still, da Silva is not without issue. The 76-year-old former president is credited with building a social welfare net that helped lift tens of millions of Brazilians into the middle class, but he’s also remembered for corruption scandals that landed him in prison before the Supreme Court annulled his convictions. 

Bolsonaro, who earned former US President Donald Trump’s endorsement, has also been successful in creating a dedicated base of voters who admire his defense of conservative values from liberals and his rebuff of political correctness. 

Voter Leda Wasem, a 68-year-old real estate agent, said she believes without a doubt that Bolsonaro will win reelection and that it is the only possible reality. 

Voters line up at a polling post in the Mare neighborhood
There are nine other candidates, but their support pales to that for Bolsonaro and da Silva.
AP/Matias Delacroix

She said she wouldn’t believe it if da Silva wins. 

“I wouldn’t believe it. Where I work, where I go every day, I don’t see a single person who supports Lula,” she said.

On the flip side, Marialva Pereira, 47, said she had planned to vote for the former president for the first time in 20 years. 

election
The election wound up being far tighter than anticipated, in the presidential contest.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
With 91.6% of votes counted, da Silva had 47.3%, ahead of Bolsonaro with 44.2%.

Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro,
Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, celebrate partial results after general election polls closed.

idn’t like the scandals in his first administration, never voted for the Workers’ Party again,” Pereira said. “Now I will, because I think he was unjustly jailed and because Bolsonaro is such a bad president that it makes everyone else look better.”

With Post wires



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