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Bolsonaro or Lula? As Brazil prepares to vote, here’s what you need to know | CNN


As election day approaches in Brazil, the two main presidential candidates, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and current leader Jair Bolsonaro, have stepped up their efforts to attract voters.

But this is an arduous task in a country where 85% of voters say they have already made up their minds, according to a Datafolha poll released on Thursday.

For da Silva, who is commonly known as Lula, more votes could mean victory in the first round of voting, without the need for a second round. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro needs to catch up, as he slips 14 points behind his rival, according to the same poll.

Brazilians will vote for their next president on Sunday, October 2, in the first round of elections. On the same date, governors, senators, federal and state deputies will also be elected for the 26 states of the country plus the federal district.

Voting is scheduled to begin at 8 am local time in Brasilia (7 am ET) and conclude at 5 pm local time (4 pm ET).

In the Brazilian electoral system, a winning candidate must obtain more than 50% of the votes. If no candidate crosses that threshold, a second round of voting will be organised, in which the options will be narrowed down to the two favorites from the first round.

In Brazil, opinion polls always estimate the potential performance of candidates in the first round (competing with all other candidates) and in the second round (with only two main candidates).

More than 156 million Brazilians are eligible to vote.

Bolsonaro and Lula are by far the candidates to watch. Although other candidates are also in the running, they are voting in single-digit percentages and are unlikely to represent much competition.

Lula, 76, served two terms as president of Brazil: from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2011. A household name, he first entered the political scene in the 1970s as a leader of workers’ strikes that defied to the military regime.

In 1980, he was one of the founders of the Workers’ Party (PT), which became the main left-wing political force in Brazil. Lula’s presidential terms were marked by programs aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in the country, but were also shaken by revelations of a corruption scheme that involved paying representatives in Congress to support government proposals. Due to the lack of evidence of his involvement, Lula himself was never included in the investigation of this scheme.

Lula’s campaign for the presidency now promises a new fiscal regime that will allow for more public spending. He has promised to end hunger in the country, which has returned under the Bolsonaro government. Lula also promises to work to reduce carbon emissions and deforestation in the Amazon.

Bolsonaro is a former army captain who was a federal deputy for 27 years before running for president in 2018. A fringe figure in politics for much of this time, he emerged in the mid-2010s as a leading figure of a more right-wing. radical. movement, which perceived the PT as its main enemy.

As president, Bolsonaro has followed a conservative agenda, supported by important evangelical leaders. His government has also become known for its support of the ruthless exploitation of the land in the Amazon, which has led to record numbers of deforestation. Environmentalists have warned that the future of the rainforest could be at stake in this election.

In his program, Bolsonaro promises to increase mining, privatize public companies and generate more sustainable energy to lower energy prices. He has promised to continue paying a monthly benefit of R$600 (approximately US$110) known as Auxilio Brasil.

Da Silva speaks during an event organized by workers' unions on International Workers' Day in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Vote counting begins just after the close of the (mostly electronic) ballots on Sunday.

Brazil’s electoral authorities say they expect the final results of the first round to be officially announced that night, Oct. 2. They will be published on the website of the electoral tribunal.

In the last elections, the results were officially declared two or three hours after the voting ended. If the leading candidate fails to garner more than half of all valid votes, a second round will be held on October 30.

Observers will be watching to see if all the candidates publicly accept the result of the vote. Bolsonaro, who has been accused of inciting his supporters with violent rhetoric, has tried to cast doubt on the result, saying the results should be considered suspect if he doesn’t get “at least 60%.”

Both he and his conservative Liberal Party have claimed that Brazil’s electronic ballot system is susceptible to fraud, a wholly unfounded accusation that has drawn comparisons to former US President Donald Trump’s false election claims.

There have been no proven cases of electoral fraud in electronic voting in Brazil.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal has also rejected complaints of failures in the system, as “false and untrue, with no basis in reality.”

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