Jair Bolsonaro, a candidate who has spoken nostalgically of military dictatorship, appeared Sunday night to have won just under 47 percent in Brazil’s presidential election. He will now face a runoff in late October with his nearest rival, the leftist Worker’s Party candidate Fernando Haddad.
The election has been marked by controversy. The previous Worker’s Party candidate, 72-year-old former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was barred from running and remains in jail on corruption charges. (You can read The New Republic’s previous coverage of Lula’s fall, and the complicated position of the Brazilian left, here.) Haddad, a former education minister who won 29 percent of the vote Sunday, was only chosen to replace him in mid-September. Bolsonaro, meanwhile, was stabbed at a rally on September 7, his poll numbers rising slightly during his convalescence.
As detailed in The New Republic’s prior coverage of the faceoff, Bolsonaro approves of violence against gay people, has said the military dictatorship should have killed more, has told a congresswoman she was too ugly to rape, and dedicated a vote in 2016 to the memory of a torturer. He has won many supporters, however, as a populist law-and-order candidate amid economic stagnation—a potent combination, historically. The runoff October 28 will now determine whether he or Haddad wins the Brazilian presidency.