1664761396 Presidential election in Brazil Lula is ahead of Bolsonaro a

Presidential election in Brazil: Lula is ahead of Bolsonaro, a second round will take place on October 30th

Supporters of candidate Lula in Brazil's presidential elections in Rio de Janeiro, October 2, 2022. Supporters of candidate Lula in Brazil’s presidential elections in Rio de Janeiro, October 2, 2022. ANDRE BORGES / AFP

Brazil’s presidential election will be decided in the second ballot. In the first ballot on Sunday, October 2, former left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula,” edged out outgoing far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro by a vote of 48.02%, down 43.55%, according to partial results by the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) based on more than 97% of the ballots counted.

More than 5 million votes separate the two men, with Lula counting nearly 56 million votes in his favour. However, since neither candidate achieved an absolute majority, they will be decided in a second round on Sunday October 30th.

“The fight goes on until the final victory,” Lula said on Sunday evening. “We’re going to win this election,” he predicted, promising “more travel, different meetings” to meet Brazilians and win a third term.

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About 156 million Brazilians were called upon to vote in this first round to elect their president for the next four years. The centrist Simone Tebet came far behind in third place with 4.21% of the votes. Labor Ciro Gomes follows at 3.05%. The other seven candidates are around or below the 0.50% mark. The participation rate for this first round reached 79%.

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Noticeable tension

Outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at his polling station in Rio de Janeiro, October 2, 2022. Outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at his polling station in Rio de Janeiro, October 2, 2022. ANDRE COELHO / AP

This narrow victory is disappointing for Lula, who the polls promised was a big margin, even a first-round triumph, which he hoped to celebrate on the main Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo. Datafolha’s latest poll on Saturday night showed the Labor Party (PT) candidate broadly in the lead with 50% of the vote, versus 36% for Jair Bolsonaro. For the populist leader, who escaped humiliating defeat in the first round, these four weeks can be an opportunity to mobilize his troops on the streets and find new momentum.

A second round means another month of a toxic campaign that has been wearying millions of Brazilians since August. In addition, many Bolsonarist candidates, including former government ministers, were elected to Congress and as governors.

At the Labor Party headquarters, a hotel in Sao Paulo (southeast), tension was palpable Sunday night while results were scattered. At the start of the count, the Liberal Party’s Jair Bolsonaro had a more than five-point lead over Lula, but the gap was gradually narrowing.

As Lula walked by after more than three hours of counting, hundreds of people exploded with joy in Cinelandia Square in Rio’s historic center, a journalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted.

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“Reliability and transparency” of the ballot

Lula, who spent 580 days in prison in 2018 and 2019 on charges of corruption, made a strong comeback after his conviction was overturned in 2021.

Fears lingered over the by-election should it succeed in Lula’s first round on Sunday. His rival threatened not to recognize the results if they lost and took aim at the electoral system before showing some signs of appeasement as the vote drew near.

The president of the TSE, Alexandre de Moraes, assured that the voting had taken place “without any problems” and wanted to “confirm” the reliability and transparency of the electronic ballot box system, which Jair Bolsonaro has criticized many times. More than 500,000 members of the security forces were mobilized to provide security for the election, which was held in the presence of dozens of foreign observers.

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The world with AFP