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Opinion
Clara Ferreira Marques

With Bolsonaro Down and Not Out, Buckle Up

Brazil’s incumbent did better than anticipated in the Brazilian elections’ first round on Sunday, extending a vitriolic, even violent, presidential contest. It isn’t about to improve.

Still here

Still here

Photographer: Pedro Prado/Bloomberg

Officially, leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the first round of Brazil’s tense presidential race on Sunday, with 48% of votes. In fact, current leader Jair Bolsonaro was the one who emerged victorious, beating the predictions of pollsters and boosted by the success of several key congressional and gubernatorial allies, who demonstrated the resilient support for his far-right platform. In absolute terms, he garnered more votes than four years ago, when he eventually triumphed as an unlikely outsider.

The unexpected success for Bolsonaro, a second wind, suggests the route to the runoff on October 30 will be bumpy. And even if he is defeated, as still seems likely given high rejection rates among voters, Bolsonarismo looks set to outlast him.