Bolsonaro leads as Brazil’s presidential election heads to runoff

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The first round of Brazil’s presidential election concluded Sunday with right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party in the lead with about 46 percent of the vote.

Without anybody in the crowded field of presidential candidates getting 50 percent, the election will now head to a runoff between Bolsonaro and Worker’s Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who collected 28 percent of the vote.

Although Bolsonaro did not avoid a runoff, his strong finish going into the second round continued his quick rise from being a fringe candidate just a few months ago to presidential favorite when Brazilians to the polls on Oct. 28.

“Let’s make Brazil Great! Let’s be proud of our homeland once again!” Bolsonaro told his followers on Facebook the night before the election.

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Bolsonaro has pledged to fight corruption and crack down on crime, but has also faced criticism for making racist, sexist and homophobic statements and for his support of torture and the country’s previous dictatorship.

Last month Bolsonaro survived a stabbing attempt at one of his rallies, which his son said left him “almost dead.”

Haddad took over the Worker’s Party nomination after Lula, who was disqualified from running while serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering, offered his blessing in an open letter read to supporters outside the federal police headquarters in Curitiba.

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After assuming the nomination, Haddad — the former mayor of São Paulo — pledged to return Brazil to the “golden years” of Lula’s 2003-2011 presidency.

Bolsonaro and Haddad beat out a field of 13 candidates.

More than 147 million Brazilians are eligible to vote for president.

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