Brazil's Bolsonaro places first in presidential election

  1. The politician filled his campaign with 'straight talk', bashing of media, fraud allegations and use of proxies
  2. Frontrunner poised for presidency has vowed to 'make Brazil great again'

Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) fell short of winning an outright majority in the Brazilian election on Sunday 7 October.

He won just shy of 47% of the vote — close to the 50% needed to avoid a runoff — while his nearest rival trailed him significantly taking 29%.

The PSL candidate will now face leftist Workers’ Party (PT) rival Fernando Haddad in a runoff election on October 28, where the former is widely expected to win. It will mark the first presidential loss for the leftists since 2002.

The strength of Bolsonaro’s ‘straight talk’ campaign has boosted similar candidates — not least of all his own sons Eduardo, Flavio and Carlos, who are also running for parliament and local government positions— in the South and Southeast, where the retired captain has the voters’ preference. With 88% of the polls published Bolsonaro has 46% of the votes, against 28% for PT leader Haddad.

Eve of election polls gave Bolsonaro, a pro-dictatorship former paratrooper, a lead of at least 15 points over his closest rival, Workers’ Party (PT) candidate , with 40% of intended votes to Haddad’s 25% (Reuters).

National pollsters Datafolha had predicted Tuesday, 2 October that the two Brazilian presidential frontrunners are likely to dispute the run-offs on 28 October in case no candidate wins a majority in the first round to be held on Sunday, 7 October (HuffPost Brazil, in Portuguese).

Bolsonaro — who has a well-documented admiration for the United States and Donald Trump — has made headlines across the world for his comments on the economy, the role of government and, most recently, the LGBTQ community, which inspired the global campaign #EleNão (“Not Him”) against quotes made by the right-wing populist candidate, who “would rather his son die than be homosexual.”

Far from harming his grassroots campaign, Datafolha reports Bolsonaro’s preference increased from 28% to 32% after the global outrage as opposed to Haddad’s, who went down 1pc to 21%.

Even political rivals conceded that Bolsonaro’s odds are improving.

“If he continues with this level of support and the center remains divided, Bolsonaro could reach the runoff,” said Congressman Fabio Sousa of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) (Business Insider UK).

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