Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Bolsonaro v. Haddad: Brazilian election goes to a runoff

Bolsonaro v. Haddad: Brazilian election goes to a runoff

Brazil's far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said "polling problems" during Sunday's election cheated him of outright victory.

With 79 percent of votes counted, Bolsonaro had received 48 percent of valid votes, far ahead of Haddad's 27 percent but short of the outright majority needed to avoid an October 28 runoff.

He will now face Sao Paulo's left-wing former mayor Fernando Haddad in what is expected to be a deeply divisive second round of voting on October 28.

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

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Bolsonaro wants to boost police forces and relax gun laws for "good" citizens. Some recent polls have shown he could beat Bolsonaro in the second round.

Better-off Brazilians have rallied to Bolsonaro's pledge to crush crime that includes more than 62,000 murders each year, almost as many rapes and frequent robberies.

"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, addressing his own supporters, called the looming run-off "a golden opportunity", and challenged Bolsonaro to a debate.

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In video statement streamed live over social media he told supporters: "This was a great victory, considering we had no television time, a party that is still very small with no campaign money and I was in hospital for 30 days".

But his supporters, like 53-year-old lawyer Roseli Milhomem in Brasilia, said they backed the veteran lawmaker because "Brazil wants change". He has also promised to cut taxes and simplify the tax code, though he has not provided details. The candidate from the tiny Social and Liberal Party made savvy use of Twitter and Facebook to spread his message that only he could end the corruption, crime and economic malaise that has seized Brazil in recent years.

Preliminary results showed unexpectedly big congressional wins by Bolsonaro proxies including former military police Major Olimpio Gomes, his campaign manager in Sao Paulo, who was elected to the Senate. Whoever ultimately wins the presidency in the world's eighth largest economy will grapple with a large bloc of ideological hostility.

Despite sitting in congress for almost three decades, Bolsonaro casts himself as a political outsider in the mold of America's Donald Trump or the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte: tough talking, brash, promising a root-and-branch overhaul to an electorate tired of traditional parties spouting empty promises. "Overall change is needed", a 58-year-old retiree, Rubens Dantas de Oliveira, said as he voted. "People will be hungry, with a currency that is worth nothing", she said, while leaving a polling station with her daughter.

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