Right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro took a commanding lead in Brazil's presidential election on Sunday, but the race headed for a second round of voting between him and leftist former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, according to exit polls and partial results.
Brazil's far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday he would stick to his hardline agenda on guns, crime and graft in the second round of the election due on October 28, alarming senior statesmen and human rights advocates alike. He will face leftist Fernando Haddad, the former mayor of São Paulo, in a second round of voting on October 28.
Bolsonaro, 63, was accompanied by a nurse as he cast his vote on Sunday, a month after a near-fatal stabbing at a campaign rally that required two emergency surgeries.
"Haddad can reach out and surpass Bolsonaro but he will have a hard time doing that, he will have to get nearly the totality of the vote of Ciro Gomes and bring in the blank voters as well as those who abstained", Thiago de Aragao, director at the Brasilia-based political consultancy Arko Advice, said. Bolsonaro claimed 46 percent of votes; he'll face Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who won just under 30 percent.
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.
Political analysts said that to have a chance of winning the runoff, Haddad would need to move quickly to the centre, distance himself from his political mentor, former President Lula, and denounce the corruption that flourished during his party's 2003-2016 run in government.
Many voters who supported the fourth-place finisher - conservative Alckmin - may break for Bolsonaro, putting him over the top.
"I think Bolsonaro will carry on doing what he's doing".
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The peace-and-love line was a mocking poke at former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who softened his left-wing rhetoric in his own first successful bid for office in 2002.
"But attacks on Bolsonaro have tended to strengthen him", she added.
He capitalised on Brazilians' deep anger with their traditional political class and "throw the bums out" rage after a massive corruption investigation revealed staggering levels of graft. 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.
"We've had enough of corruption".
Bolsonaro's supporters protested the results outside the national electoral tribunal in the capital Brasilia, chanting "Fraud!"
Brazil's next Congress was also elected on Sunday, and in a seismic shift, Bolsonaro's once-tiny Social Liberal Party (PSL) was poised to become the second-largest force in the body.
"We can't always vote for the same candidates, the same parties".
All along, Brazilians have said their faith in leaders and their hopes for the future are waning. They sent precisely the two candidates who most polarize the population to a runoff election, thus aggravating the country's problems still further.