Brazil’s contentious presidential election will go to a second round after former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva failed to earn the required overall majority to avoid a run-off with far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

With more than 99.5% of votes counted, the Marxist veteran had 48.3% of the vote, not enough to avoid a showdown with his right-wing competitor on October 30. Bolsonaro, who outperformed pollsters’ forecasts and will be encouraged by the result, earned 43.3% of the vote.

Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2010, addressed the media at a hotel in downtown So Paulo, striking a belligerent tone, proclaiming, “The struggle continues until our definitive victory.”. “We are going to win these elections – this is merely extra time for us,” said Lula, who was forbidden from running in the 2018 race that resulted in Bolsonaro’s election on corruption allegations that were later overturned.


On the eve of the election, Lula stated that he hoped for a first-round victory but would redouble his efforts to recover power if a second round was required. “I’m hoping that this election will be settled tomorrow, but if it isn’t, we’ll have to act like a football team when a game goes into overtime. We’ll take a 15-minute break before returning to the field to score the goals we didn’t obtain in normal time “He stated to reporters.

Gleisi Hoffmann, president of Lula’s Workers’ Party, told reporters that the campaign was neither “sad or depressed” over the outcome, pointing to Lula’s more than 56 million votes. “Congratulations on your victory, President Lula,” she said.

However, the election result dealt a significant setback to progressive Brazilians who had hoped for a decisive triumph over Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has frequently assailed the country’s democratic institutions and destroyed Brazil’s international brand.

Bolsonaro is also accused of wreaking damage on the environment and mishandling the Covid epidemic, which killed over 700,000 Brazilians, by weakening vaccine and containment efforts and hawking quack remedies.

On Sunday night, Bolsonaro promised to spend more time convincing the weakest parts of society that a far-right government is preferable to a leftist one. According to the far-right leader, “I believe there were a lot of votes (cast) because of the Brazilian people’s situation, who are seeing price rises, especially on essential goods. I understand that many individuals want to change, but some changes can be detrimental.”

“We tried to present this other side in the campaign, but it doesn’t appear to have registered with the most powerful strata of society.”. He reiterated that Brazil must not follow neighboring countries such as Chile and Colombia in electing leftist governments, but he flatly refused to answer questions about probable voter fraud after months of casting doubt on the security of electronic voting equipment.

Bolsonaro has warned that if lost, he will not quit the government, stoking fears of a Trump-style insurgency among his followers if Lula wins. Bolsonaristas, including Bolsonaro’s former health minister Eduardo Pazzuelo, who became a Rio congressman, and his former environment minister Ricardo Salles, were elected to Brazil’s house and as state governors.

Pazzuelo was Bolsonaro’s Health Minister at the height of the pandemic, which killed over 685,000 people in Brazil. He was a former military general who pushed quackery like hydroxychloroquine. Meanwhile, Salles was the Environment Minister who presided over a significant increase in Amazonian deforestation.

A Federal Police inquiry accused the far-right ideologue of making it impossible to probe environmental offenses. According to a second investigation, he was involved in illicit logging exports. He refuted all of the allegations.

Cláudio Castro, the governor of Rio de Janeiro who supports Bolsonaro, was re-elected, while one of Bolsonaro’s most controversial former ministers, evangelical preacher Damares Alves, was elected to the Senate. Tarcsio de Freitas, Bolsonaro’s candidacy for governor of So Paulo, too outperformed pollsters’ expectations and will face Lula ally Fernando Haddad in the second round.

As the right-wing victories and the need for a second round became evident, Lula and his allies remained steadfast. A big crowd of people, mostly dressed in red, drank beer and danced the samba as they waited for the final score to emerge on a screen overlooking the square in Rio de Janeiro’s historic city center.

The joy was short-lived, however, as the results revealed that Lula was still roughly 2% short of the majority required to avoid a runoff with Bolsonaro. “I’m dissatisfied,” Kharine Gil, a 23-year-old university student, stated. “Because we saw that Bolsonaro is more powerful than we imagined.”

Elaine Azevedo, a 34-year-old security systems worker, appeared despondent as she gazed up at the massive screen displaying the findings. “I feel despair, pure despair,” said Azevedo, who was clad in red from head to toe and sported a hat with Lula’s name on it. “Everyone expected Lula to win handily.”

Eudacio Queiroz Alves, a 65-year-old retired driver, was partying at a neighborhood tavern about a block away. “This was predicted,” he said. “The people support Bolsonaro. I believe he will prevail.”

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