Sao Paulo: Brazil's incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro will face former President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva in the deciding second round of Brazil's presidential election later this month.
Neither candidate was able to hit the 5 per cent mark needed to win in the first round, reported CNN.
With more than 97 per cent of the vote counted on Sunday evening, results released by Brazil's Electoral Superior Court (TSE) showed left-wing candidate and former president Luiz Silva held a slight lead over incumbent President Bolsonaro - but not enough to cross the threshold to victory.
Lula and Bolsonaro will face each other again on October 30 for a run-off vote, reported CNN.
The vote on Sunday followed a bruising campaign season marked by bitter verbal attacks and a series of violent incidents between supporters of Bolsonaro and Lula.
Several other presidential candidates were in the running but trailed far behind the two frontrunners. Voters also cast ballots for new state governors, senators, federal and state deputies for the country's 26 states and the federal district, reported CNN. While there were nearly a dozen candidates on the ballot, the race was dominated from the outset by Lula and Bolsonaro, two titans of Brazilian politics.
Bolsonaro, 67, ran for re-election under the conservative Liberal Party. He has campaigned to increase mining, privatize public companies, and generate more sustainable energy to bring down energy prices. He has vowed to continue paying a Brazilian real 600 (about USD 110) monthly benefit known as Auxilio Brasil.
Often referred to as the "Trump of the Tropics," Bolsonaro, who is supported by key evangelical leaders, is a highly polarizing figure. His government is known for its support for ruthless exploitation of land in the Amazon, leading to record deforestation figures. Environmentalists are warning that the future of the rainforest could be at stake in this election.
Bolsonaro has also been widely criticized for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 686,000 people in Brazil have died from the virus, reported CNN.
Lula, 76, focused his campaign on getting Bolsonaro out of the office and highlighted his past achievements throughout his campaign.
His campaign promised a new tax regime that will allow for higher public spending. He has vowed to end hunger in the country, which has returned during the Bolsonaro government. Lula also promises to work to reduce carbon emissions and deforestation in the Amazon, reported CNN.
Lula, however, is also no stranger to controversy. He was convicted for corruption and money laundering in 2017, on charges stemming from the wide-ranging "Operation Car Wash" investigation into the state-run oil company Petrobras. But after serving less than two years, a Supreme Court Justice annulled Lula's conviction in March 2021, clearing the way for him to run for president for the sixth time.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro sowed doubts about the voting system without evidence, raising questions about whether he would accept defeat
Lula is making a bid to return to the top of Brazilian politics 20 years after he first stormed to the presidency
The 76-year-old former metal worker and union leader lifted millions out of poverty as president but has since been tainted by corruption scandals. —ANI