Brazilians entered a new phase of a tense presidential campaign this week as the two frontrunner candidates failed to secure an outright win.
Incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro outperformed polling, which for months had put former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead with an expected decisive lead. Although da Silva came in first with 48 per cent of the vote, he did not receive the necessary 50 per cent required to win. The next and final vote is set to be held on October 30.
As the largest democracy in the region, and the fourth largest in the world, the election is being keenly observed globally and is considered one of the most important elections in the country’s recent history. The two candidates stand in stark contrast to one another. Bolsonaro is viewed as a populist far-right politician who supporters admire for his conservative values but detractors blame for social and economic turmoil. Da Silva is viewed by supporters as a progressive who could return the country to its once admired global stature and economic growth, but who critics view as corrupt.
As the run-off campaign gets underway, fears of deepening polarization and continued violence mount. Some election watchers fear Bolsonaro’s continued efforts to undermine election security could give way to a crisis similar to that seen at the US capitol on January 6, 2021.
On this episode of The Stream we discuss what to expect during Brazil’s runoff campaign and what this new phase of the election means for Brazilians.