Far-right pres. hopeful wins first tour of Brazil vote

By Joana Oliveira

BRASILIA, Brazil (AA) – Brazil is now headed to the second leg of the vote to pick a new president between the extremes.

Right wing's Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party received 46.89 percent of the ballots and will compete against Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party who garnered the support of the 28 percent of the voters.

Approximately 147 million Brazilians voted on Sunday's polls.

As for the other presidential hopefuls, Ciro Gomes of Brazilian Labor Party got 12.5 percent of the votes; Geraldo Alckmin from Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy got 4.87 percent; Joao Amoedo of the New Party – NOVO earned 2.62 percent and Cabo Daciolo from PARTIDA got 1.24 percent.

Henrique Meirelles of the Brazilian Democratic Movement — who was considered by financial markets as the best-prepared candidate to tackle the economic crisis in the country — and Marina Silva from the Sustainability Network, who participated in the presidential elections for the third time, only achieved 1.22 percent and 1 percent of the votes, respectively.

On Sunday, citizens also elected, governors of states, senators, and deputies in all of the 26 states of Brazil and the Federal District.

Even though the election day passed without any major incident or violence, many voters complained about long queues, the malfunction in some of the electronic ballot boxes and glitches in the biometric registry.

"I waited three hours in the queue to vote. There was so much confusion that a woman went into labor while she waited," said Pedro Hijo, 29, from Salvador, the capital of Bahia, the fourth largest electoral site in the country.

Once again, the traditional regional trends have been repeated in Brazil: in the southeastern states, where the three main electoral zones of the country are located — Sao Paulo, Rio and Minas Gerais — Bolsonaro secured a clear advantage as he achieved more than 50 percent of the votes in each of those states, while in the north and northeast of the country, Haddad won by a majority with the exception of Ciro Gomes' home state Ceará, where Gomes gained more than 60% of the votes.

– Congress and Senate

In the legislative elections, both citizens and political analysts ended up surprised.

Impeached former president Dilma Rousseff from Workers' Party who ran for senator for the state of Minas Gerais and came in the fourth position, with 15 percent of the votes, despite pre-election opinion polls have put her on the top of the list.

In Rio de Janeiro, former federal judge Wilson Witzel from the Christian Social Party — a rookie whose support base grew just recently after Bolsonaro publicly threw his weight behind him — got 41 percent of the votes.

Witzel will contest the post of governor in the second leg against ex-Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, who got 21 percent of the votes.