Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Lula Leads Opinion Polls as Brazil Votes in Tense Presidential Contest

Published: October 3, 2022
Brazilian Presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is pictured flashing a thumbs up in this screenshot provided by Reuters. (Image: via Reuters)

BRASILIA, BRAZIL — Brazilians cast their votes on Sunday, Oct 2 in the first round of their country’s most polarized election in decades, with leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expected to beat right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

Most opinion polls have shown Lula with a solid lead for months, but Bolsonaro has signaled he may refuse to accept defeat, stoking fears of institutional crisis or post-election violence.

Most surveys favor Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2010, by 10-15 percentage points. If he wins more than 50 percent of valid votes, which several pollsters show within reach, that would clinch an outright victory, foregoing a second-round vote.

Voting in São Bernardo do Campo, Lula acknowledged the dramatic turnaround in his fortunes after a conviction that he says was politically motivated.

““Four years later I am here voting with the recognition of my full freedom and with the possibility of once again being the president of this country to try to help my country to return to normal,” he said after casting his vote.

Lula was jailed during the last election, serving a conviction for graft that was later overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing him to face his fierce rival Bolsonaro this year.

Bolsonaro voted in Rio, and remained bullish about his chances before casting his ballot.

“What matters is the voice of the people, what matters is that. Clean elections and without problems. May the best win!” he said to journalists.

Voters in São Bernardo do Campo were hopeful that the elections would bring change to the country.

“I believe and hope for a renewal. It’s time for things to change,” said Valeria Lopes.

“We have the opportunity to change things or stay the same. Right now, I’m not happy with the way things are,” added Wander de Souza, although he said that did not mean he supported Lula.

Voters in Portugal, where 80,900 Brazilians were registered to vote in Sunday’s elections faced long queues.

A winner could be announced within hours after polling stations close at 5 p.m., local time. If no candidate wins more than half of the votes, excluding blank and spoiled ballots, the top two finishers go to an October 30 run-off, prolonging the tense campaign season.

By Reuters. (Production: Amy Pollock)