Polls open in Brazil’s tight presidential election runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro.
As polls open on Sunday in the closely contested presidential runoff, Brazil is heading in two directions: to the right or to the left.
On one side, there is a left-wing candidate, far-right former military chief Joaquim Barbosa, against front-running Lula da Silva, the former leader of the party in power during the military regime and first elected president in 2003.
On the other, there is an alliance of populist candidates, seeking to ride into office on the nationalist anti-corruption wave that swept across former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the 2015 election campaign and turned her into a cult figure, while opposing Bolsonaro, a former army captain, who made the same campaign pledge in his bid to become president in 2018.
Both candidates have a big hurdle to overcome before they can see the votes of one of the most polarized nations in South America.
There’s an early presidential runoff in Brazil on Sunday, and polls open in the election, set for Sunday, and the country is headed in two directions.
Lula versus Bolsonaro
While Bolsonaro is a far-right politician with an authoritarian, right-wing agenda, Lula has been a champion of the poor and a defender of the rights of Brazilians.
In a country where the wealthy can buy the presidency with billions, Lula, 54, is running for a second term as president and is seeking to return his country to the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
But before his supporters can even decide who to vote for in Sunday’s election, they will have to decide whether to cast their ballot for Lula or Bolsonaro.
While Brazilians are polarized, there is a growing middle class that is more open to left-wing politics, and a large segment of Brazilians have rejected the left’s two-party system that has been in place since the 1930s.
“There’s a greater percentage of people who are far-right or far-left, but those are not the two major points of focus in this election,” said André Scholl, a professor at the Catholic University of Brasilia, on condition of anonymity.
“What’s important is to understand the dynamics of the vote. In Brazil it’s a very polarized and polarized society.”
There must be a third candidate
The left has already lost