Lula leads as Brazil votes in tough presidential election

Brazilians on Sunday began voting for a new president after a long and arduous election campaign, with polls showing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with a 10 percentage point advantage over the incumbent. Jair Bolsonaro.

At times, the campaign was marred by violence, including the murder of three supporters of Lula’s left-wing Workers’ party and a supporter of the right-wing Bolsonaro party.

“For me, this election is a hope for change,” said Valéria Conte Deldem, 48, from São Paulo, who voted for Lula. “We had four years of horror, humiliation, loss of rights for indigenous peoples and burning [Amazon] Forest. For me, that is the hope of having a government that thinks of the working class.”

Two opinion polls released Saturday night showed the former president would receive 50 to 51 percent of the valid vote, compared with 36 to 37 percent for Bolsonaro.

If no candidate today receives more than 50% of the valid votes – excluding blanks and ballots – the race will come to an end at the end of October.

“This is the most important election. We don’t want more discord. We want a country that lives in peace,” Lula said after voting Sunday.

Polls show third and fourth place candidates – leftist Ciro Gomes and centre-right Simone Tebet – with only about 10% support between them.

“There is a chance that Lula will win in the first leg. That is a possible scenario. Rafael Cortez, an analyst with consulting firm Tendâncias, said Lula entered the final phase of the campaign with historically higher votes than the candidates in the first place.

“What will determine everything is turnout. Lower-income individuals tend to vote less, but Lula tends to have more support in this constituency.”

Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters in Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais state, Brazil on Friday

Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters in Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais state, Brazil on Friday © / Washington Alves / Reuters

Much Brazilians are voting for the person they dislike the most. Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010 and left office with an approval rate above 80%, has a rejection rate of around 40%.

In the eyes of conservative voters, his involvement in Lava Jato The corruption scandal made him unfit for the presidency. The former labor organizer spent nearly two years in prison for pairing before his sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court. Other criminal cases have been adjourned or expired because of deadlines.

Fabricio Farias arrived at the polls with his wife, both wearing the yellow and green colors of the Brazilian flag.

“This election will define the future of our country for the next 10 years. I want Bolsonaro to be re-elected because he defends God, country and family,” he said, adding that he was confident the incumbent leader would win the first round.

“It is very easy to manipulate the votes of the masses. I like to follow my intuition and data from people. And this year’s Bolsonaro rallies are big and cohesive. ”

However, Bolsonaro is despised by many and has a rejection rate of over 50%. His authoritarian rhetoric and misleading language have at times annoyed many Brazilians. His government has also been embroiled in controversy, especially over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 700,000 Brazilians.

In addition, the president angered voters by refusing to say whether he would accept the election results unconditionally.

The former army captain has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the country’s electronic voting machines, arguing that they are vulnerable to fraud without providing evidence.

After voting on Sunday, the president again hinted at this, saying: “I’m sure that in a clean election we will win with at least 60% of the vote. “

Critics are scared Bolsonaro trying to make excuses for failure. Opposition figures and political analysts are bracing for the possibility that Bolsonaro’s more radical establishment could take to the streets if Lula wins.

Thomas Traumann, a political analyst, said: “I hope we get a second round of childbirth and Bolsonaro will use whatever is necessary to keep himself in power, including relinquishment. check the results and try some kind of riot on January 6,” said Thomas Traumann, a political analyst, referring to the attack on the US Capitol last year by supporters of Donald Trump, the former The president is defeated.

On Sunday morning, there was a large police presence on São Paulo’s main avenues, but the city remained calm.

The presidential vote coincides with congressional races and elections. In addition to electing the governors of the 27 states, Brazilians will vote for candidates for all 513 seats in the House of Representatives and a third in the Senate.

Political analysts expect the left to gain, but Congress will continue to be dominated by centre-right and centre-right parties.

In particular, Centrão, a loose bloc of legislators known for its business of politically backing budgets to appeal to home constituencies, is expected to win big.

“For the most part, Centrão will prevail. That’s because they have an unbelievable presence across the country,” said Mario Marconini, managing director at Teneo. “But Centrão will only associate himself with whoever has power.”


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