December 2, 2022

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With the referendum over, Brazil awaits the outcome of the Lula-Bolsonaro tussle

Polls closed Sunday in Brazil, where more than 156 million voters were called to vote in a presidential election in which Lula is expected to win a first-round victory against outgoing Jair Bolsonaro.

The result should be known a few hours after the counting begins. Polling stations closed at 5:00 pm (8:00 pm GMT).

Brazilians rushed en masse to elect their president, but representatives, one-third of senators and governors of 27 states, with long queues in this enormous country of continental dimensions.

“There is no problem if the election is clean. May the best win! »President Bolsonaro, 67, voted in the morning in Rio de Janeiro.

Irritated by press questions from journalists, Bolsonaro, dressed in the yellow and green jersey of the national soccer team with a bulletproof vest underneath, did not make it clear whether he would approve the decision.

However, he is behind Lula in opinion polls (50% vs. 36%) due to the denial of Covid, which has killed more than 680,000 people in Brazil, and the economic crisis in more than 30 countries. Millions of people suffer from hunger.

Former left-wing president (2003-2010) Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, 76, casts his vote earlier in São Bernardo do Campo, a working-class suburb of São Paulo.

“For me, this is a very important election.”The former steelworker, who is seeking a third term in his sixth presidential bid, left power after 12 years with a stratospheric approval rating (87%).

“We don’t want more hatred and differences. We want a peaceful country.” He said of the fractures in the highly polarized Brazil of 214 million people.

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At polling stations, voters often dressed in Bolsonarian yellow and green or Lulist red and had to wait hours to cast their ballots due to crowds.

“Authenticity and Transparency”

“We are very afraid because the climate is tense, but we want to express our opinion”, said Isabela Queiroz, 39, who came to vote in Sao Paulo, wearing a red dress, with a friend.

In the afternoon, the head of the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Alexandre de Moraes, promised that voting would take place “without problems” and wanted to “reaffirm the reliability and transparency” of the electronic ballot system. Jair Bolsonaro criticized

“I am a Christian, I only vote for candidates who accept what is written in the Bible, so I vote for Bolsonaro”, said Aldeyz dos Santos, 40, housewife.

In the Amazon, the Campeba tribe made Lula’s “L” with their fingers and rode motorized boats down the Rio Negro to school to vote.

Jair Bolsonaro was widely criticized during his term for his environmental policies, with record deforestation and increased encroachment of indigenous reserves by gold miners or timber smugglers.

Improved security

During this crucial election for the future of Brazil’s young democracy, the clash at the Lula-Bolsonaro summit pushed nine other candidates into additional ranks.

“The question is whether there will be a second round or not, that is impossible to predict.”Adriano Laureano, analyst at Prospectiva Advisors, says:

A victory for Lula would mark an unexpected comeback four years after his controversial imprisonment on corruption charges.

His campaign has called for a “meaningful vote” for a first-round victory. That would save four more weeks of fighting until a second round on October 30, allowing populist Bolsonaro to galvanize his forces and find new momentum.

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“I think Bolsonaro will run if he loses”Laureno says, “But that doesn’t mean he will win. The international community will soon recognize the decision.

Many fear a Brazilian remake of the 2021 Washington Capitol attack after Donald Trump’s defeat.

The military showed no sign of unrest and the US said it would ‘resolutely monitor’ the election, while more than 500,000 law enforcement personnel were mobilized to provide security.