Last Updated on October 3, 2022
Brazil’s presidential election will now head to a runoff after neither candidate secured more than 50% of the vote in Sunday’s first round of voting. With 99.7% of the votes counted, leftist challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was ahead with 48.4% of votes versus 43.3% for Bolsonaro, Reuters reported. Since neither candidate was able to secure the 50% required to win outright, the race will head to a second round of voting on October 30.
Several polls had shown Lula, who previously served as president from 2003 to 2010, leading Bolsonaro by 10-15 percentage points ahead of Sunday’s vote. Bolsonaro has questioned the polls, as well as the integrity of the nation’s electronic voting machines.
“The extreme right is very strong across Brazil,” said Carlos Melo, a political scientist at the Insper business school. “Lula’s second-round victory is now less likely. Bolsonaro will arrive with a lot of strength for re-election.”
Despite failing to secure an outright victory, Lula still painted Sunday’s results as a victory. The former president said he was looking forward to another month on the campaign trail and hoped for an opportunity to debate Bolsonaro head-to-head.
Bolsonaro also reacted positively to the results, pointing to significant gains made by his party in Congress. “I plan to make the right political alliances to win this election,” Bolsonaro said. His right-wing allies won 19 of the 27 seats that were up from grabs in the Senate, and initial returns suggested a strong showing for his base in the lower house, Reuters reported.
Centrist Senator Simone Tebet, who drew 4% of votes, and center-left former lawmaker Ciro Gomes, who secured 3%, both said on Sunday night they would announce decisions about endorsements in the coming days. Support for other candidates was overstated in polls, but their endorsement decisions could still have massive ramifications on the race’s outcome.