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Brazilians vote in tense presidential race led by right-winger

09 October 2018, 11:32 | Devin Moran

Brazilians vote in tense presidential race led by right-winger

Brazilians vote in tense presidential race led by right-winger

Right-wing Brazilian Congressman Jair Bolsonaro is headed toward a second-round runoff against leftist former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad on October 28, according to exit polls and early results that indicate no candidate winning a majority in Sunday's presidential election.

Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain, gained 46% of the vote - falling just short of securing enough support to avoid a second-round runoff against his left-wing opponent. He will face leftist Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of São Paulo, in a second round of voting on October 28.

"Haddad can reach out and surpass Bolsonaro but he will have a hard time doing that, he will have to get nearly the totality of the vote of Ciro Gomes and bring in the blank voters as well as those who abstained", Thiago de Aragao, director at the Brasilia-based political consultancy Arko Advice, said.

Brazilians choose among 13 candidates for president Sunday in one of the most unpredictable and divisive elections in decades.

"I am certain that if this hadn't happened, we would have known the name of the president of the republic tonight", Bolsonaro said in a live Facebook video feed.

"What comes out from this election is a Congress more favorable to pass Bolsonaro's reforms", said Juliano Griebeler, political analyst at Barral M Jorge, a business consultancy. "Bolsonaro is far more radical than [U.S. President Donald] Trump, and Brazil's institutions are weaker".

Prior to Sunday's first-round vote, about 41 percent of Brazil's electorate said they wouldn't vote for Haddad under any circumstances, according to Datafolha polling institute.

Some people were forced to queue for more than four hours to cast their vote and police reinforcements called in as the crowds threatened to over-run the embassy building near Trafalgar Square and roads in the area were sealed off for security reasons.




The incompetence on the right as well as the left drove voters into the arms of the populists - populists who openly stand for authoritarianism, racism, homophobia and misogyny.

Experts predict political pyrotechnics between now and then as the two men lock horns on their dramatically different visions for Brazil.

The center-left, in turn, collapsed with the candidacy of Lula, Brazil's most beloved and simultaneously most despised politician.

Nearly two-thirds of the electorate are concentrated in the more populous south and southeast of Brazil where its biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio Janeiro, are located - and where Bolsonaro holds a commanding lead.

In the most polarized election since the end of military rule in 1985, Bolsonaro is backed by a group of retired officers like Mourão who have criticized Workers Party governments and publicly advocate military intervention if corruption continues. And now it has failed to nominate a candidate who could appeal to conservative voters.

The final numbers showed a steady increase in Bolsonaro's support in comparison to the last opinion polls.

"A lot of young people are voting for him".

But a Haddad voter, Jose Dias, said it would be a "catastrophe" if Bolsonaro triumphed. "They don't know what it was like under the dictatorship", he said.



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