Brazil votes in pivotal election with divisive far-right candidate leading the polls

Brazil votes in pivotal election with divisive far-right candidate leading the polls

Today Brazilians will vote for presidential candidates, state governors and members of the federal parliament. Voting begins following a tumultuous

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Photo: Cris Faga/NurPhoto

Today Brazilians will vote for presidential candidates, state governors and members of the federal parliament.

Voting begins following a tumultuous election campaign, as the country endures economic hardship, soaring violent crime rates and the legacy effects of a national corruption scandal that has shaken faith in the political system. The most recent opinion polls show far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the lead, raising concern about his far-right economic policies and social reforms, which—while popular with investors—will undermine Brazil’s vaunted social welfare programmes. Additionally, as a member of Brazil’s former military dictatorship there remains alarm over his autocratic views and past comments criticising the democratic system and minorities.

Leftist Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad trails Bolsonaro closely but is unlikely to finish ahead. With the first round of voting almost certain to be inconclusive, polls show a Bolsonaro-Haddad runoff tied. Despite its national difficulties, the Workers Party has greater prospects in increasing their representation in state and local elections. Yet, these leftist gains are likely to have little impact on the hard-line shift that a Bolsonaro administration would make on law and order and economic and social policy.

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