Far-Right Bolsonaro Wins First Round of Presidential Election

Brazil votes amid anger at the ruling class

The Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate Bolsonaro was the victor of the first election round on Sunday (October 7), failing short of the 50 percent outright majority, but nonetheless accruing 46 percent of the vote. As a result, Bolsonaro would have good chances to form a significant majority in Congress were he to win the runoff on October 28.

With no backing from major parties and little funding, Bolsonaro relied on his skilful use of social media during the campaign. Haddad was the replacement for Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva - the former president who is serving a 12-year jail term for corruption - after the electoral ruled De Silva could not run for the presidency from prison.

Former Army captain Mr. Bolsonaro ended up with 47 percent of valid votes, three points shy of the overall majority he would have needed to be victorious in the first round.

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.

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

Many voters who supported the fourth-place finisher - conservative Alckmin - may break for Bolsonaro, putting him over the top.

He, like most analysts in Brazil today, warned that voters do not seem to fully grasp the degree of change that a Bolsonaro presidency portends: "I think Brazil's democracy is in serious danger", he said.

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 2003-2016 Workers Party governments and publicly advocate military intervention if corruption continues.

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula is now serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption.

Brazil's currency, the real BRBY, gained 2 percent to 3.78 to the dollar, the strongest since August, while yields on interest rate futures 0#DIJ: fell sharply.

Yet one-third of Brazilian voters - more than voted for Haddad - either stayed home, or cast blank or null ballots.

But his track record of fiery anti-democratic rhetoric, calls for police to kill as many criminals as possible, and offensive comments on women and minorities have alarmed former presidents and observers across the political spectrum.

Reflecting confidence that he will win the second round, Bolsonaro said he had already begun talks with other lawmakers in Congress to build an eventual governing coalition.

"We've had enough of corruption". Maybe they know more than the world's scolds.

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 received a lot of criticism from electronic voting booths, some people voted for governor and closed the vote, others pressed the 1 and appeared the candidate of the left [Haddad]", said Bolsonaro.

Thirty parties won seats in the lower house, up from 25 represented there before the vote.

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