Brazils election goes into a runoff as Bolsonaro dashed Lulas

Brazil’s election goes into a runoff as Bolsonaro dashed Lula’s hopes of a quick win

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Portal) – The second round of Brazil’s presidential campaign got underway on Monday after right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro topped the polls and defeated left-wing former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by a clear victory in the first round of voting.

Bolsonaro’s unexpectedly strong showing on Sunday has dashed hopes of a quick resolution to deeply polarized elections in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

With 99.9% of electronic votes counted, Lula had garnered 48.4% of the vote versus 43.2% for Bolsonaro. With neither receiving a majority of support, the race goes into a runoff on October 30.


The race has proven closer than most polls suggested, reviving Bolsonaro’s campaign after he insisted polls were untrustworthy. If he makes a comeback, it would break with a spate of victories for leftists across the region in recent years, including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile.

Adding to the tensions in Brazil, Bolsonaro has launched unfounded attacks on the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system and suggested that in case of defeat he might not surrender. On Sunday night he sounded confident that victory was within reach and avoided criticism of the voting system.

“I plan to make the right political alliances to win this election,” he told journalists, noting significant progress his party had made in the congressional general election.

Bolsonaro’s right-wing allies won 19 of the 27 Senate seats and early results indicated a strong performance from his base in the lower house.

The strong performance by Bolsonaro and his allies, which added pressure on Lula to move into the middle, prompted bankers and analysts to expect a rebound for Brazilian financial markets on Monday after Sunday’s surprise result.

Lula cast an optimistic vote on the outcome, saying he looks forward to another month of campaigning and a chance to discuss Bolsonaro head-on.

However, there was clear frustration within his campaign that he had fallen short of the narrow majority forecast in some polls, along with weak results in state races outside of his party’s traditional stronghold in the North East.

“There was clear voice movement in the Southeast beyond what the polls and even the campaign could detect,” said a campaign source on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Support for the distant third and fourth-place finishers also lagged behind recent polls, suggesting some of their supporters may have switched to Bolsonaro when it came time to vote.

Centrist Senator Simone Tebet, who got 4% of the vote, and former center-left MP Ciro Gomes, who got 3%, both said Sunday night they would announce decisions on endorsements in the coming days.

Given the momentum in Bolsonaro’s favour, Lula may need all the help he can get.

“Bolsonarismo was clearly underestimated,” said Senator Humberto Costa, a compatriot of Lula’s Labor Party.


Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Sao Paulo and Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia Additional reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia Writing by Anthony Boadle. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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