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Bolsonaro, Lula Headed to Runoff Election after Tight Brazil Election


Bolsonaro, Lula Headed to Runoff After Tight Brazil Election


By: The Associated Press

October 3, 2022 (RIO DE JANEIRO | AP): Brazil’s top two presidential candidates will face each other in a runoff vote after neither got enough support to win outright Sunday in an election to decide if the country returns a leftist to the helm of the world’s fourth-largest democracy or keeps the conservative incumbent in office.

With 99.5 percent of the votes tallied on Sunday’s election, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had 48.3 percent support and President Jair Bolsonaro had 43.3 percent support. Nine other candidates were also competing, but their support pales to that for Bolsonaro and da Silva, who is commonly known as Lula.

Pre-election polls had given da Silva a commanding lead. The last Datafolha survey published Saturday had found a 50 percent to 36 percent advantage for da Silva. It interviewed 12,800 people, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

This tight difference between Lula and Bolsonaro wasn’t predicted,” said Nara Pavão, who teaches political science at the Federal University of Pernambuco.

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

Bolsonaro outperformed in Brazil’s southeast region, which includes populous 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.

Bolsonaro’s administration has built a devoted base by defending conservative values, rebuffing political correctness, and protecting the nation from extreme leftist policies that he says infringe on personal liberties and produce economic turmoil.

While voting earlier Sunday, Marley Melo, a 53-year-old trader in capital Brasilia, sported the yellow of the Brazilian flag, which Bolsonaro and his supporters have coopted for demonstrations. Melo said he is once again voting for Bolsonaro, who met his expectations, and he doesn’t believe the surveys that show him trailing.

“Polls can be manipulated. They all belong to companies with interests,” he said. Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned the reliability not just of opinion polls, but also of Brazil’s electronic voting machines.

Da Silva, 76, was once a metalworker who rose from poverty to the presidency. He built an extensive social welfare program during his 2003–2010 tenure.

He is also remembered for his administration’s involvement in vast corruption scandals that entangled politicians and business executives.

Da Silva’s own convictions for corruption and money laundering led to 19 months imprisonment, sidelining him from the 2018 presidential race. The Supreme Court later annulled da Silva’s convictions on grounds that the judge was biased and colluded with prosecutors.

Social worker Nadja Oliveira, 59, said she voted for da Silva and even attended his rallies, but since 2018 votes for Bolsonaro.

“Unfortunately, the Workers’ Party disappointed us. It promised to be different,” she said in Brasilia.

Others, like Marialva Pereira, are more forgiving. She said she would vote for the former president for the first time since 2002.

“I didn’t like the scandals in his first administration, never voted for the Workers’ Party again. Now I will, because I think he was unjustly jailed,” said Pereira, 47.

On Saturday, Bolsonaro shared social media posts by right-leaning foreign politicians, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, who called on Brazilians to support him. Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed gratitude for stronger bilateral relations and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also praised the Brazilian leader.

After voting on Sunday morning, Bolsonaro told journalists that “clean elections must be respected” and that the first round would be decisive. Asked if he would respect results, he gave a thumbs up and walked away.

After the announcement of the runoff, Lula said he was confident of a win in the second round. “Tomorrow, I’ll restart my campaigning,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro urged his compatriots in the runoff to consider how policies will shape Brazil’s self-defense, freedom, and freedom of religion.

“What I worry about is Brazil losing its freedom, walking along with the left in the ways of Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Chile,” he told reporters.


Source: The Associated Press


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