Election day for Brazil’s right-wing incumbent Bolsonaro and left-wing challenger da Silva

Nearly a dozen candidates went to the polls in Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday. Still, only two have a real chance of winning: right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and his longtime political foe, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leader of the left-wing Workers’ Party .

Sunday’s polls showed Mr da Silva, commonly known as Lula, has a clear edge over his rival, a pro-business, regulation-cutting agitator known as Brazil’s version of Donald Trump. Trump.

But in Brazil, the winning candidate must get more than 50 percent of the vote or a second round of voting will be ordered.

In this case, the only candidates on the ballot will be the two front-runners.

Polling data by Brazilian firm Dadafolha on Saturday showed da Silva in the lead. The pollster said 50 percent of respondents said they would vote for him, while 36 percent favored bringing Bolsonaro back to power.

The election, widely regarded as the most important in years, comes at a pivotal time for Brazil, which has struggled with rising fuel prices and a slowing economy.

Some analysts said Mr. da Silva was not expected to reach the 50 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff against Mr. Bolsonaro on Oct. 30.

“I think a second round is more likely,” Brazilian political columnist Jose Roberto de Toledo told the Guardian. “If there’s a second round, it’s going to be worse than so far. It’s going to mean four weeks of blood. I hope I’m wrong.”

Mr Bolsonaro has promised Brazilians that he will create jobs by cutting red tape, cutting taxes and investing in technology. He has faced harsh criticism over his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil and the widespread deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

If back in office, Mr Bolsonaro said he would continue to privatize more public companies and increase mining opportunities. Brazil, like any country, has the right to use its natural resources, he said. The current Brazilian president has also pledged to continue providing voters with a $110 monthly benefit check during the pandemic.

Mr. da Silva, a former union leader, served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 during a period of relative economic prosperity. He was later jailed for an extensive corruption investigation in Brazil, but the conviction was dismissed, allowing him to run for office again.

Mr. da Silva has promised to raise taxes on the wealthy, enact some generous social programs and restore environmental regulations that were loosened under President Bolsonaro.

Mr Bolsonaro has portrayed himself as a defender of traditional family values ​​and individual freedoms, as well as an enemy of political correctness and other progressive policies. Manuel Pinto Adinho, a metal worker who lives in Rio de Janeiro, told NPR that he intends to vote for Mr Bolsonaro even with the economic downturn.

“The pandemic has ruined everything. Inflation is really high,” Mr Pinto Ardinho said. “It’s not his fault.”

Holding elections for 150 million people in a country the size of a continent in one day is no simple task, says Oliver Stuenkel, a professor at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas School of International Relations in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“This is a huge logistical challenge and doing it so seamlessly should be a source of national pride,” Stuenker tweeted.

However, he rejected Mr Bolsonaro’s recent comments questioning the fairness of the election, saying it could lead millions of citizens to question the outcome and deny the legitimacy of the next government.

“The quality of a country’s democracy is not only determined by its government. It is also determined by its opponents,” Mr Stuenkel said. “The democratic opposition offers constructive criticism and holds the government accountable. It shouldn’t. However, question the government’s legitimacy.”



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