Right-wing Brazilian Congressman Jair Bolsonaro is headed toward a second-round runoff against leftist former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad on Oct. 28, according to exit polls and early results that indicate no candidate winning a majority in Sunday's presidential election.
With 68 percent of voters counted, Bolsonaro had received 46 percent of valid votes, far ahead of Haddad's 25 percent. Much of Haddad's support is concentrated in northeast Brazil, which is often slower to report electoral results.
An exit poll of 30,000 voters conducted by survey institute Ibope suggested Bolsonaro would win 45 percent of valid votes on Sunday, with 28 percent going to Haddad. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who praises dictatorships and vows a brutal crackdown on crime and graft had surged in opinion polls in the past week on a wave of antipathy towards Haddad's Workers Party, who leader is in jail receiving bribes.
Bolsonaro, 63, gained momentum after a near-fatal stabbing at a rally one month ago that kept him from campaigning. He had appealed via social media for support to win 50 percent of the votes an take the election in the first round.
Haddad, a former education minister and one-term mayor of Sao Paulo, is standing in for the party founder, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving time for bribery and money laundering.
Bolsonaro is riding a wave of anger at the establishment over one of the world's largest political graft schemes and rising crime in the country with the most murders in the world. His supporters blame the Workers Party, which ruled Brazil for 13 of the past 15 years, along with reckless economic policies that contributed to Brazil's worst recession in a generation.
In the most polarized election since the end of military rule in 1985, Bolsonaro is backed by a group of retired generals who have criticized the 2003-2016 Workers Party governments and publicly advocate military intervention if corruption continues.
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