Brazilian elections unexpectedly exciting: Lula and Bolsonaro neck to neck

A second round seems to be needed in Brazil‘s elections. With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, sitting President Bolsonaro is slightly behind his challenger Lula da Silva, who has 47.1 percent of the votes.

In the first interim results, Bolsonaro led the votes, but as more notes were counted, Lula caught up with him. Around 01.00 Dutch times, he led with a minimum of 45.7 against 45.5 percent. Lula expanded that gap later.

Neither candidate has responded to the preliminary results yet.

If none of the candidates in the first round achieves an absolute majority, a second round will follow on October 30. Nine other candidates participated in the first round, but they did not play a significant role.

Polls incorrect

The result seems to be considerably more exciting than the latest polls predicted. In a survey published on Saturday, Lula still had a 50 to 36 percent advantage over Bolsonaro. Upon entering the first results, the polls acknowledged that they had underestimated support for Bolsonaro, president since 2019.

For some time, Bolsonaro and his supporters have argued that the polls were distorted. Because the president also criticized Brazilian voting procedures, analysts feared that the president would not accept a possible loss. The campaign was tense, with even lethal violence back and forth among supporters of both candidates.

Opponents of 67-year-old Bolsonaro, also known as Tropical Trump, criticized his political incorrectness, corona denials, and flirtation with the country’s military dictatorship in the last century. Proponents praised his commitment to conservative values and fight against the left-wing politics of his predecessors.

Lula (76) is considered an archrival to the right-wing president. He was a former president between 2003 and 2010 and is known for his outspoken left-wing policy, although his tenure was marred by allegations of widespread corruption. Lula himself was imprisoned for 19 months, but his conviction was ultimately reversed as politically motivated.