Brazil votes in Bolsonaro-Lula showdown

Brazil votes in Bolsonaro-Lula showdown

A staffer connects the electronic ballot box at a polling station on the eve of the presidential election in Brasilia on October 1, 2022.
A staffer connects the electronic ballot box at a polling station on the eve of the presidential election in Brasilia on October 1, 2022.. Photo: Sergio Lima / AFP
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Сheck out news that is picked exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block on the home page and enjoy!

Brazil votes Sunday in a polarizing presidential election, with all eyes on whether front-runner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva can win in a single round -- and whether incumbent Jair Bolsonaro will accept the result.

The campaign, which left the Latin American giant deeply divided, ended with former president Lula (2003-2010) leading ex-army captain Bolsonaro with 50 percent of valid votes to 36 percent, according to a final poll from the Datafolha institute released Saturday evening.

The figures put Lula on the cusp of the score needed to win outright and avoid a runoff on October 30: half the valid votes, plus one.

But Bolsonaro, known for his combative style, has repeatedly said "only God" can remove him from office, attacked supposed fraud in Brazil's electronic voting system, and vowed his re-election bid can have just three outcomes: "prison, death or victory."

Read also

Brazil's youngest voters betting on 76-year-old candidate

Lula, the charismatic but tarnished ex-president seeking to stage a comeback at 76, says he fears the incumbent will create "turmoil" if he loses -- a concern heard often in Brazil heading into election day.

Bolsonaro's attacks on the voting system have raised fears of a Brazilian version of the riots that erupted at the US Capitol last year after his political role model, former president Donald Trump, refused to accept his election loss.

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro waves at supporters during a motorcade in Joinville, Brazil on October 1, 2022, on the eve of the presidential election
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro waves at supporters during a motorcade in Joinville, Brazil on October 1, 2022, on the eve of the presidential election. Photo: AFP
Source: AFP

"I do think (Bolsonaro) will contest the election result if he loses," said political analyst Adriano Laureno of consulting firm Prospectiva.

"But that doesn't mean he'll succeed. The international community will recognize the result quickly... There might be some kind of turmoil and uncertainty around the transition, but there's no risk of a democratic rupture."

Read also

Journalists, Bolsonaro's 'enemy,' eye post-election Brazil

Observers from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center, the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (UNIORE) and other international bodies will be monitoring the vote.

The White House meanwhile said the United States would be watching the vote "closely."

More than 500,000 security-force members will be deployed on election day.

Public Security Minister Anderson Torres sought to downplay fears of unrest.

"We're having an election, not a war," he said.

Heavyweight bout

Lula, the ex-metalworker who rose from destitute poverty to become the most popular president in Brazilian history, is seeking to stage a remarkable return, four years after falling spectacularly from grace when he was jailed for 18 months on controversial corruption charges.

Brazil presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets supporters during a campaign rally on the eve of the presidential election in Sao Paulo,on October 1, 2022
Brazil presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets supporters during a campaign rally on the eve of the presidential election in Sao Paulo,on October 1, 2022. Photo: Miguel Schincariol / AFP
Source: AFP

Accused in a massive graft scheme centered on state-run oil company Petrobras, Lula regained the right to run for office last year when the Supreme Court annulled his convictions, ruling the lead judge in the case was biased.

Read also

Comeback kid Lula seeking Brazil's top job at 76

In the meantime, Bolsonaro, 67, who swept to office on a wave of anti-establishment outrage in 2018, has lost his outsider shine.

Vowing to defend "God, country and family," the president retains the die-hard backing of his "Bibles, bullets and beef" base -- Evangelical Christians, security hardliners and the powerful agribusiness sector.

But he has lost moderate voters with his management of the weak economy, his vitriolic attacks on Congress, the courts and the press, a surge in destruction in the Amazon rainforest, and his failure to contain the devastation of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 685,000 lives in Brazil.

'Gun to our heads'

Many voters are deeply disillusioned with both contenders -- and the lack of other options -- in a race where none of the other nine candidates managed to break out of single digits in the polls.

"It's like we have a gun to our heads," 27-year-old Uber driver Matheus Fernandes told AFP in Lula's home state of Pernambuco.

Read also

'Democracy on the ballot' as Brazil holds divisive vote

The Christ the Redeemer statue is illuminated with the message "Peace in the Elections" in Rio de Janeiro on October 1, 2022
The Christ the Redeemer statue is illuminated with the message "Peace in the Elections" in Rio de Janeiro on October 1, 2022. Photo: MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP
Source: AFP

His plan: cast a blank ballot.

Lula plans to vote in Sao Bernardo do Campo, outside Sao Paulo, where he rose to prominence as a union leader. Bolsonaro, a former Rio de Janeiro congressman, will vote in the iconic beach city, then return to Brasilia to watch the results.

The polls open at 8:00 am and close at 5:00 pm (1100-2000 GMT), with results expected some two hours later.

Brazil's 156 million voters will also be electing the lower house of Congress, one-third of the Senate and governors and state legislators in all 27 states.

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block on the home page and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel