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Deadline looms for Brazil presidential candidates to file for October elections

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Deadline looms for Brazil presidential candidates to file for October elections

FILE PHOTO: Federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil’s presidential elections, shows a sword during a rally in Curitiba
FILE PHOTO: Federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil’s presidential elections, shows a sword during a rally in Curitiba
Photo: Reuters/Rodolfo Buhrer

Today is the last day Brazilian presidential hopefuls can announce their candidacy for general elections this October.

Despite serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains the front-runner in polls (31%). Although his Workers’ Party (PT) officially nominated him as their candidate, his conviction will almost certainly disqualify him from contesting the presidency. If forced out, his less popular running mate Fernando Haddad will be PT’s replacement.

The other major candidate, running at 19%, is Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman known for making controversial comments. Mr Bolsonaro has spoken of using force to fight crime and returning to the two-decade period when Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship.

More than a quarter of Brazilians remain undecided and almost a third of those polled have suggested they might leave ballots blank. Although there are five other candidates likely to run, none are particularly popular and are each polling at less than 10% of the vote. Consequently, unless one of these candidates surges ahead in the poles with either a populist, centrist or “alternative” message—like centrist Geraldo Alckmin (9%)—the Brazilian people will be stuck between two options that, for many, are equally undesirable.

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