Brazil's far-right Bolsonaro says 'polling problems' cost him outright victory

Frederick Owens
October 9, 2018

With 92 percent of votes counted, Bolsonaro received 47 percent of valid ballots, far ahead of Haddad's 28 percent but short of the outright majority needed to avoid an October 28 runoff.

Mr Bolsonaro is projected to take 45% of the vote and Mr Haddad 28%.

Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro gestures after being stabbed in the stomach during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais State, in southern Brazil, on 6 September, 2018.

"I am certain that if this hadn't happened, we would have known the name of the president of the republic tonight", Bolsonaro said in a live Facebook video feed. Bolsonaro has said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one and told a fellow lawmaker in Congress that she was "too ugly" to be raped.

But poorer Brazilians, who benefited most from the heyday during Lula's time in office from 2003 to 2010, want a return to good times and hope Haddad can deliver. In the forthcoming run-off election, the north-east will doubtless vote for Haddad and the Worker's Party - the party of former president Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva, himself from the region.

"Bolsonaro has been so successful because he was the first to realize that this would be a 'change election, ' and he has systematically adopted an anti-system rhetoric, allowing him to mobilize people who wanted a more radical change", Prof.

Polls suggest Mr Bolsonaro has the support of most Brazilians living in the UK. Almost 50 million voters - or 46 percent of the electorate - backed him in a contest with 13 candidates.

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Experts predict political pyrotechnics between now and then as the two men lock horns on their dramatically different visions for Brazil.

His promises to give police freer rein, his criticism of the social movements and reforms that have attempted to make Brazil more inclusive and equal, and his frequent praise for Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship have raised concerns that a Bolsonaro government will erode democratic values and rule with an authoritarian hand. And now it has failed to nominate a candidate who could appeal to conservative voters. "So I made a decision to vote for Bolsonaro, who is the only one who can block the return of the Workers' Party".

"I can't turn into a Little "Peace and Love" Jair, which would be betraying who I am", Bolsonaro said in a radio interview.

Haddad can only win in the second round if he converts sceptics, galvanises Sunday's vanquished centrist candidates and their supporters and goes after his opponent on policy issues such as crime and security which, until now, he has appeared unwilling to grapple with, analysts said.

Haddad may yet gain the backing of other candidates in the race, but that might just feed Bolsonaro's criticism that traditional politicians are only interested in protecting their own.

"We'll speak with anybody who wishes to talk with us now, which is interesting because many of them did not want to have a dialogue with us before the first-round vote", Lorenzoni said.

Haddad called on Brazilians to unite behind him, warning that the 1988 Constitution that underpinned Brazil's young democracy was under threat.

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