Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Brazil Election Will Go to Run-Off, Bolsonaro vs Haddad

Brazil Election Will Go to Run-Off, Bolsonaro vs Haddad

In Brazil, far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro surged to first place in Sunday's general election, but will face an October 28 runoff election after narrowly missing an outright win.

The Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate Bolsonaro was the victor of the first election round on Sunday (October 7), failing short of the 50 percent outright majority, but nonetheless accruing 46 percent of the vote.

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

Bolsonaro, who has served for decades as a lower house lawmaker, has pledged to crack down on crime and corruption, seizing on voter anger with the establishment after a series of graft scandals he blamed on Haddad's Workers Party. A runoff is required under Brazilian law if no candidate wins a majority.

"This election in Brazil is highly emotional and, being emotional, many voters have very little interest in the details of policy making that each candidate proposes", he said.

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. "We need to unify Brazil, to pacify it", he said.

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Jana Tessarolo Clemente, a 46-year-old veterinarian from Sao Paulo said she voted for the former army captain "because we're against the Workers' Party more than for Bolsonaro".

As education minister both under Lula and his successor Dilma Rousseff-until 2012, when he successfully ran as mayor of Sao Paulo-Haddad was responsible for championing an anti-homophobia initiative in schools that Bolsonaro strongly opposed and that Rousseff eventually suspended.

"Haddad's chance of victory depends much more on the performance of Bolsonaro than his own".

"A Haddad voter, Jose Dias, said it would be a "catastrophe" if Bolsonaro won the right to succeed unpopular outgoing centre-right President Michel Temer".

Bolsonaro's rise prompted a rally in recent days in Brazil's currency and stock market.

Bolsonaro has painted a nation in collapse, where drug traffickers and politicians steal with equal impunity, and moral rot has set in.

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Meanwhile, true to the Workers' Party's leftist roots, Haddad has promised to fight long-standing inequalities, scrap a major labor reform passed a year ago and invest more in education.

Many voters, already disillusioned with their democracy, said they felt trapped by the choice between the two front-runners, a sentiment likely to deepen in the weeks to come.

"I think Haddad needs a bit of a miracle, it could be very, very hard for him [to win the presidency]", Oliver Stuenkel, a professor of global relations at the Brazil-based Getulio Vargas Foundation higher education institute, said.

"A lot of young people are voting for him".

The former Army captain, dubbed "Tropical Trump" because of his nationalist agenda and anti-establishment tirades, won almost half the votes thanks to a surge in support sparked by growing anger at corruption and antipathy towards scandal-plagued traditional parties in Latin America's largest nation.

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