The two polarizing contenders for Brazil’s president will face off again in a run-off, after Sunday’s tight election results defied predictions of a resounding defeat for the incumbent president.
Leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served as president of Brazil from 2003-2010, failed to win the outright majority needed to avoid a run-off election but called the results a “mere delay” on the path to victory. Lula won 48% of the vote, while 43% went to incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, BBC reported. A survey of more than 12,800 Brazilians across more than 300 cities conducted just days before the election showed Lula leading Bolsonaro 50-36.
Centrist Simone Tebet and social democrat Ciro Gomes finished a distant third and fourth, winning 4% and 3% of the vote, respectively, official results showed.
Lula, a 76-year-old former metal worker, was excluded from the 2018 presidential election amid charges of corruption that were later annulled by Brazil’s supreme court, according to BBC.
President Bolsonaro lost some popularity after the South American country suffered a high rate of infections and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to worsening economic conditions during his tenure, the leader risked a loss of votes for allowing deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, BBC noted. (RELATED: ‘Star Wars’ Actor Appears To Endorse Former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva’s Comeback Bid)
Bolsonaro acknowledged the concerns of Brazilian voters, but said he still believes he is the right man for the job. “They are feeling the price rises, especially those of basic goods. I do understand that there’s a desire for change but some change can be for the worse,” he said, according to BBC. The Trump-backed candidate did not challenge Sunday’s election results, but has previously questioned the reliability of electronic voting in Brazil, the Washington Post reported.
Bolsonaro and Lula will face each other again in an Oct. 30 runoff election.