The first round of voting in Brazil’s presidential election has failed to yield an outright winner, leading to a runoff on October 30.
Leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, went into election day on Sunday as the projected frontrunner, with recent opinion polls giving him a commanding lead over far-right President Jair Bolsonaro – and even a first-round victory.
Bolsonaro’s support is far from collapsing
Bolsonaro received 6.1 million votes fewer than his main opponent, but his Liberal Party will surpass Lula’s Workers’ Party to become the biggest in the Senate.
The far-right fireband’s right-wing allies won 19 of the 27 seats up for grabs in the Senate, and initial returns suggested a strong showing for his base in the lower house, limiting Lula’s room for maneuver if he wins the presidency.
Among the notable winners in the lower house were Bolosonaro’s former health minister (a general who oversaw the pandemic’s troubled management), and his former environment minister, who resigned in the midst of an investigation into whether he had aided the export of illegally cut timber from the Amazon.
Sergio Moro, the former judge who temporarily jailed Lula and was Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, also defied polls to win a Senate seat.
On the campaign trail, Bolsonaro had repeatedly hinted that he would not accept a Lula victory, raising concerns of a Brazilian version of the riots last year at the United States Capitol after former President Donald Trump insisted he was the winner of the country’s presidential election.
“[Bolsonaro] won’t accept the results of the elections if he loses,” Praca told. “He needs a narrative, he needs to be able to tell a story about why he lost and who is behind this.”