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Brazil goes to the polls in Bolsonaro – Lula presidential runoff

Brazilian voters go to the polls on Sunday in a tense election to choose between re-electing right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro or returning leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to office.

The tight race offers a second chance for both candidates.

Mr Bolsonaro has vowed to consolidate a sharp conservative turn in Brazilian politics after a presidency impacted by the pandemic. Mr Lula promises more social and environmental responsibility.

Several polls showed the race between them tightening in the final week, with Mr Bolsonaro eroding a slight lead for Mr Lula. Others show a small but steady advantage for Mr Lula.

Jair Bolsonaro outperformed opinion polls in the first round of voting on October 2 among a field of 11 candidates. Pollsters said they recalibrated their methods based on that result, but most analysts still say Sunday’s runoff could go either way.

Mr Lula was jailed in 2018 for 19 months on bribery convictions. However, Supreme Court overturned it last year, clearing the way for him to seek a third presidential term. clearing the way for him to seek a third presidential term.

Mr Lula and the Workers Party he heads were accused of looting pension funds, embezzling public funds, and giving out illegal contracts that cost Brazilian taxpayers billions of dollars while in power.

Luiz Lula has vowed a return to state-driven economic growth and social policies during a commodity boom when he first governed Brazil. He also vows to combat the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and make Brazil a leader in global climate talks.

A second term for Bolsonaro would keep Brazil on a path of free-market reforms and looser environmental protections, while cementing a coalition of right-wing parties and farm interests.

Mr Bolsonaro has also stated many times that he will stand with Christians in his majority Catholic nation against abortion and the same radical gender theory now engulfing the West, which he said leftists seek to promulgate in schools.

Mr Bolsonaro has requested the military assist with voting transparency by trying to ensure the voting system is not vulnerable to fraud.

The armed forces checked some voting machines during the first-round vote to be sure paper receipts lined up with the results transmitted digitally, but they did not report their findings.

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