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Brazil vote will go to October 30 runoff

Brazil’s presidential campaign has re-started ahead of a second vote on October 30 after neither candidate secured majority support in the national election.

October 3, 2022
By Lisandra Paraguassu and Maria Carolina Marcello
3 October 2022

The second round of Brazil’s presidential campaign is under way after President Jair Bolsonaro spoiled rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s hopes of an outright win in the first-round vote.

The unexpectedly strong showing by Bolsonaro on Sunday dashed hopes for a quick resolution to the deeply polarised election in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

With 99.9 per cent of electronic votes counted, Lula was ahead with 48.4 per cent of votes versus 43.2 per cent for Bolsonaro.

As neither got a majority of support, the race will go to a second-round vote on October 30.

The race has proven tighter than most surveys suggested, revitalising Bolsonaro’s campaign after he insisted polls could not be trusted.

If he pulls off a comeback, it would break with a wave of victories for leftists across the region in recent years, including in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Chile.

Adding to tensions in Brazil, Bolsonaro has made baseless attacks on the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system and suggested he may not concede if he loses.

On Sunday night, he sounded confident 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, pointing to significant advances his party made in Congress in the general election.

Bolsonaro’s right-wing allies won 19 of the 27 seats up from grabs in the Senate, and initial returns suggested a strong showing for his base in the lower house.

Bankers and analysts expected a boost for Brazilian financial markets on Monday after the strong showing for Bolsonaro and his allies, which added to pressure on Lula to tack to the centre.

Lula put an optimistic spin on the result, saying he was looking forward to another month on the campaign trail and the chance to debate Bolsonaro.

Inside his campaign, however, there was clear frustration 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 northeastern stronghold.

“There was a clear movement of votes in the southeast, beyond what the surveys and even the campaign managed to detect,” a campaign source said.

Support for distant third- and fourth-place finishers also fell short of recent surveys, suggesting some of their backers may have shifted to Bolsonaro when it was time to vote.

Centrist Senator Simone Tebet, who received four per cent of votes, and centre-left former lawmaker Ciro Gomes, who got three per cent, both said they would decide on endorsements in coming days.

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

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

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