Bol­sonaro poised to win Brazil pres­i­dency

Late poll shows right-wing can­di­date lead­ing 55-45 against leftist ri­val

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Brazil­ians fed up with cor­rup­tion and ris­ing crime are ex­pected to elect for­mer army-cap­tain-turned-politi­cian Jair Bol­sonaro as their pres­i­dent as vot­ing be­gins on Sun­day in a tur­bu­lent swing to the right in the world’s fourth largest democ­racy.

Bol­sonaro’s sud­den rise was pro­pelled by re­jec­tion of the leftist Work­ers Party (PT) that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and was ousted two years ago in the midst of the coun­try’s worst re­ces­sion and big­gest graft and bribery scan­dal.

Leftist ri­val Fer­nando Had­dad, stand­ing in for the jailed PT founder and for­mer Brazil­ian pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva has been trail­ing Bol­sonaro since the first round vote three weeks ago.

Fi­nal opin­ion polls on Sat­ur­day show­ing Had­dad gain­ing mo­men­tum and en­dorse­ments from lead­ing le­gal fig­ures in Brazil’s un­prece­dented fight against po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion have raised hopes among his sup­port­ers that he can pull off what would be a stun­ning up­set win.

Had­dad has re­duced Bol­sonaro’s lead from 12 to 8 per­cent­age points in five days, ac­cord­ing to the Ibope polling firm that gave him 46 per­cent of voter sup­port com­pared with Bol­sonaro’s 54 per­cent. A Datafolha poll also re­leased late Sat­ur­day showed Bol­sonaro had 55 per­cent and Had­dad 45 per­cent.

Polling sta­tions opened 8 am Sun­day and the last was ex­pected to close in far western Brazil at 7 pm Brasilia time.

Had­dad failed to win the cru­cial en­dorse­ment of cen­ter-left for­mer can­di­date Ciro Gomes, a for­mer gover­nor of Ceará state in the north­east, which would have given Had­dad a big lift in Brazil’s poor­est re­gion.

But Ro­drigo Janot, Brazil’s for­mer pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral un­der whose watch un­prece­dented prose­cu­tions of en­demic po­lit­i­cal graft took place, tweeted that he would vote for Had­dad. Pop­u­lar an­ti­cor­rup­tion judge, Joaquim Bar­bosa, who jailed sev­eral top PT lead­ers for cor­rup­tion, also came out for Had­dad.

The en­dorse­ments were a blow to Bol­sonaro’s cam­paign to po­si­tion him­self as the only anti-cor­rup­tion can­di­date.

Many Brazil­ians are con­cerned that Bol­sonaro, an ad­mirer of Brazil’s 196485 mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship and a de­fender of its tor­ture of leftist op­po­nents, will tram­ple on hu­man rights, cur­tail civil lib­er­ties and muz­zle free­dom of speech.

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