Brazil’s Far-Right Candidate Grabs Lead Ahead Of Second Round Presidential Election

October 8, 2018

Preliminary results show that Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman and former army captain, returned a commanding lead in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election.

Now, with 99 percent of the votes counted, Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party will head to runoff elections on Oct. 28.

Bolsonaro, the leader of Brazil’s Social Liberal Party, led with 46 percent of the vote. Haddad — a stand-in for jailed former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who’s currently serving 12 years for corruption — trailed Bolsonaro with 29 percent. The 55-year-old mayor of São Paulo and former education minister has worked to appeal to working-class Brazilians who remember Lula’s government as a boon to social programs and living standards.

Bolsonaro, 63, fell just short of capturing the majority he needed (more than 50 percent of votes) to claim an outright win, and avert a runoff against leftist rival Fernando Haddad.

This election has surfaced deep divisions in Latin America’s largest democracy, NPR’s Philip Reeves reports from Rio de Janeiro, “between those who think Bolsonaro will combat rampant crime and corruption and others alienated by his misogynist and racist comments, and his admiration for Brazil’s past military dictatorship.”

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