World News

Far-right Brazil candidate snubs 'peace and love' after winning first round

Far-right Brazil candidate snubs 'peace and love' after winning first round

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro will face leftist Fernando Haddad in the second round of Brazil's presidential election, according to official results. If Bolsonaro - who was stabbed during the election - manages more than 50 percent, he will win the presidency outright.

In what is likely to be a deeply polarizing runoff, Bolsonaro, an outspoken apologist for Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship, will now face leftist Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo, in a second round of voting on October 28. Haddad has 28 percent of the vote. The Congressman will head toward a second-round runoff against Haddad, the former Mayor of São Paulo, who so far has gained 27.9 percent of the popular support. Brazilians choose among 13 candidates for president Sunday in one of the most unpredictable and divisive elections in decades.

Better-off Brazilians have rallied to Bolsonaro's pledge to crush crime in a country where there are more than 62,000 murders each year, almost as many rapes, and frequent muggings and robberies.

"We expected to win in the first round", 77-year-old retiree Lourdes Azevedo said in Rio de Janeiro.

An exit poll also showed one of Bolsonaro's closest aides, former police Major Olimpio Gomes, scoring a surprise win in the Senate race in Sao Paulo state.

Bolsonaro's popularity surged as exasperated Brazilians decided he represents the best chance to turn back a wave of violent crime and dismantle what prosecutors call the world's largest political graft scheme. Bolsonaro has a history of making racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments. Bolsonaro only needs a few more points to secure victory, but Haddad's supporters vowed Monday to launch a tough fight to make up ground after he finished a distant second in the first round.

His appeal to voters for a return to "traditional values", his embrace of social media messaging as a way to communicate directly with the public, and his brash style have led to some Brazilian media dubbing him the "Trump of the Tropics".

"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".

Haddad, though, has his own challenge.

In the most polarized election since the end of military rule in 1985, Bolsonaro is backed by a group of retired generals who have criticized the Workers Party governments and publicly advocate military intervention if corruption continues.

Bolsonaro has painted a nation in collapse, where drug traffickers and politicians steal with equal impunity, and moral rot has set in. He is standing in for the party's imprisoned founder, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He has promised to fight long-standing inequalities, scrap a major labour reform passed past year 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.

Some voters - particularly women - carried "Not Him" placards to polling stations in opposition to Bolsonaro.

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


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