Tuesday 29 November 2022

Brazil election: Lula to face Bolsonaro in runoff. Why the election matters.

Brazil's presidential race is set for a second round on October 30, as far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and leftist former President Lula da Silva did not secure the votes necessary to claim an outright victory.

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Q24N (DW) Brazil’s presidential race will go on to a runoff after first-round results showed on Sunday that the two front runners failed to receive over 50% of the votes.

Brazilians will head to the polls again on October 30 to choose between Bolsonaro (left) and Lula as their new president

Brazilian electoral authorities said the vote will go to a second round after former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva got 48.4% of the vote, while incumbent Jair Bolsonaro got 43.2%.

Da Silva, best known as Lula, told reporters he wanted to win “every election in the first round,” but that wasn’t always possible.

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He stayed optimistic although Bolsonaro outperformed forecasts. The leftist leader said he looked forward to a debate with his rival.

“We’re going to keep fighting until the final victory,” Lula da Silva told supporters.

Bolsonaro was calm and confident in delivering post-election remarks as well, telling reporters “we beat the lie,” referring to predictions by leading polling platforms that had put him far below the number of votes he ended up getting.

“Now the campaign is ours… I’m completely confident. We have a lot of positive accomplishments to show,” Bolsonaro added.

He said he understood there was a “desire for change” among people but that “certain changes can be for the worse.”

Bolsonaro has not challenged the results of Sunday’s election even though he has repeatedly claimed that the country’s voting machines were prone to fraud.

Why the election matters

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Brazil is the world’s fourth-largest democracy and the two main candidates represent two ends of the political spectrum.

This caused uncertainty about the future of Brazil’s democracy. There were also concerns about whether either candidate could claim an outright victory.

Opinion polls had put Lula da Silva in the lead for months, and Bolsanaro avoided questions about whether he would respect results if he lost, prompting fears of post-electoral violence.

What to know about Bolsonaro and Lula

Bolsonaro, a far-right leader, came to power in 2018, promising to clean up politics and lift the economy.

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But Bolsanoro was severely criticized for downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus and mishandling the pandemic, as well as failing to lift living standards for many Brazilians.

Lula da Silva, a leftist leader who was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, was credited with implementing extensive social programs that helped lift millions into the middle class.

The election campaign represented his attempt at a big political comeback since he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2017 on a range of corruption charges.

But several criminal cases against him were dropped by a Supreme Court judge last year, allowing him to seek presidency again.

US and Mexico react

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-wing politician himself, congratulated Lula da Silva.

“Congratulations, brother and companion Lula. The people of Brazil demonstrated once again their democratic vocation and, in particular, their inclination for equality and justice,” Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter.

Washington congratulated Brazil, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that US was confident the runoff “will be conducted in the same spirit of peace and civic duty.”

rm/fb (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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