Votes were being counted Sunday evening in Brazil’s high-stakes presidential election, where leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva aimed to beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and retake the presidency.
Polls closed at 4 p.m. ET Sunday in the race being watched around the world. With 2% of the totals in at 5 p.m. ET, Bolsonaro was in the lead with 48.7% of the vote against Lula’s 41.6%.
Pollsters have predicted Lula, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, will beat Bolsonaro by around 10%. He needs to get more than 50% of the vote or a runoff election will be immediately triggered.
His popularity has soured in Brazil, where he dismantled protections for the Amazon rainforest and botched the country’s COVID-19 response.
Lula, a former union leader, was jailed before the 2018 election on corruption charges that were later thrown out. Many of his associates were jailed and his hand-picked successor Dilma Rousseff was impeached.
Pundits have said Lula’s win will be predicated on turnout, saying the candidate representing the Worker’s Party has a wider but less enthusiastic base than Bolsonaro.
Many questions remain about whether the election will remain peaceful. Multiple Lula supporters have been murdered in the run-up to the election.
Gun-ownership has spiked since Bolsonaro — who has the backing of the police — took office.
With Post wires