Presidential elections began in Brazil on Sunday. In the vote, the former left-wing head of state Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) challenged the right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. More than 156 million eligible voters are invited to vote for their new head of state. If none of the candidates receives more than 50% of the vote in the first ballot, the two strongest candidates will meet in a second round on October 30.
Lula voted shortly after the polls opened, saying he wanted to bring Brazil back to “normal” if he won the election. “We don’t want hate, we don’t want discord,” said the challenger. “We want a land of peace.”
The incumbent also voted in the morning. “Clean elections must be respected,” Bolsonaro said. During the election campaign, he had announced that he would contest the election result if he lost. “Only God” could remove him from office. At the same time, he declared, without providing any evidence, that there was widespread fraud in Brazil’s electronic voting system.
In the polls, leftist former president Lula recently led by a large margin over right-wing incumbent Bolsonaro.
In addition to the future president, deputies, senators and governors are also elected. The first results are expected on Monday night.
The election has extremely divided Latin America’s largest economy. Lula described Bolsonaro as a genocide because of his hesitant corona policy, and Bolsonaro called his opponent a thief after his conviction for corruption. At least three Lula supporters have been killed by alleged Bolsonaro supporters in recent months. Supporters of the incumbent have repeatedly openly called for a military coup.
Not a few in Brazil are bracing for a Brazilian version of the unrest that rocked the United States after Bolsonaro’s political model Donald Trump refused to acknowledge his defeat. (apa)