General elections were held in Brazil on Sunday, October 7, without major incident. In the presidential race, no one candidate garnered an absolute majority of the vote and as such a second round will be held on October 28. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) party received 46 percent of the vote and will face off against runner-up Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT), who received 29 percent. Demonstrations in favor of both candidates are likely in the run-up to the October 28 vote, as well as anti-Bolsonaro protests (e.g. protests organized by women’s groups like those held on September 29). The winner of the run-off will take office on January 1, 2019.
On the legislative front, the PSL party made huge gains to become the second-largest party in the lower house of congress, winning 51 of the 513 seats, behind the PT’s 57 seats.
Bolsonaro has been a controversial candidate due to his right-wing views and provocative statements, including past criticisms of democracy. Haddad replaced former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) as the PT candidate as Lula, currently serving a 12-year sentence on corruption charges, was ineligible to run.
Individuals in Brazil are advised to keep abreast of the sociopolitical climate and avoid all demonstrations or political events due to the potential for violence.
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