Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

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

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

Jair Bolsonaro, a pro-dictatorship former army captain, secured almost 50m votes in the first round of Brazil's presidential election on Sunday - about 46% of the total and just short of the outright majority needed to claim victory.

Bolsonaro sailed through Sunday's first-round presidential election, picking up 46 percent of the vote.

He will leave office at the end of the year as a deeply unpopular figure in a country with 13 million unemployed, climbing public debt and inflation, and record violence.

In the past, Bolsonaro pushed for legislation that would require the machines to print voting receipts - an idea endorsed by experts who say voting machines not connected to the internet can still be hacked. "I have to keep being the same person".

Haddad's Workers Party was one of the losers of the conservative turn.

"It looks hard for Haddad to win in the second round, but not impossible".

State utility Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA (ELET6.SA), which Bolsonaro has said he would privatize, soared 12 percent.

"Bolsonaro has an advantage over Haddad, he's in a growth curve. for him to lose from here, it's not about Haddad getting it right, it's about him making mistakes", he added.

"Part of the market's excitement comes from the renovation in Congress".

Brian Winter, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly magazine, said the results underscored "the total disappearance of the Brazilian centre" and that Bolsonaro seemed nearly certain to glide to victory.

"When you go to the second round with a huge spread between you and the runner-up, and you are already very close to that 50-percent-plus-one, you're at peace", said Alexandre Bandeira, a political strategist in Brasilia.

Jair Bolsonaro, whose last-minute surge nearly gave him an electoral stunner, had 46pc compared to 29pc for former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, according to figures from Brazil's Superior Electoral Tribunal with 99.9pc of the vote counted.

Asked whom he would endorse, Gomes referred to the slogan of anti-Bolsonaro protesters in recent weeks: "Not him, certainly".

Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who praises dictatorships and vows a brutal crackdown on crime and graft had surged in opinion polls in the past week on a wave of antipathy towards Haddad's Workers Party, who leader is in jail receiving bribes.

The Workers' Party was at the centre of that investigation, and it has struggled to stage a comeback with Mr Haddad.

However, one of his first moves on Monday was to fly to the southern city of Curitiba for a meeting with Lula in his prison cell, a weekly encounter that Haddad is authorized to make as a member of the former president's legal team.

For voters, Bolsonaro and Haddad represent starkly different visions for the future.

Allies recognised the uphill battle he faces.

"If God is willing, we'll settle this today", he told reporters.

Brazil's next Congress was also elected on Sunday, and in a seismic shift, Bolsonaro's once-tiny Social Liberal Party (PSL) was poised to become the second-largest force in the body. They underestimated Bolsonaro and overestimated the traditional parties as well as - most crucially - the effectiveness of television advertising in the election. Another, Eduardo Bolsonaro, was easily re-elected to the lower house.

"I am certain that if this hadn't happened, we would have known the name of the president of the republic tonight", Bolsonaro said in a live Facebook video feed.

Glauco Peres, a University of São Paulo political scientist, predicted that in the absence of concrete policy proposals, fear would remain Bolsonaro's main weapon as the second round approached.

He was competing against those with more money behind them, greater media exposure and more traditional political support.

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