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Bolsonaro’s fate hanging in the balance 

Voters in Brazil’s presidential election were at various polling stations across the country yesterday to choose the country’s next leader. 

What does a candidate need to win? 

A candidate must secure more than 50% of the valid votes cast to be declared president. If none of the candidates receives the required percentage of valid votes cast, a run-off will be held between the top two on October 30. There are more than 130 million registered voters, and voting is compulsory for Brazilians between 18 and 70 years of age. There are eleven presidential candidates, but only two are projected to have a real chance of winning – incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro and his main rival, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

How soon are the results expected? 

The final results are expected to be announced today. Since 1996 voting in Brazil’s elections has been done electronically. Each candidate is assigned a number, which voters type into a voting machine at polling stations across the country. The votes for each number are then counted by the machines, and the totals are sent electronically to a central office, where votes from across the country are tallied up, with the final results expected within hours of polls closing. Once voting is concluded, the totals are displayed publicly at polling stations, and each machine’s votes can be compared with the total recorded by the electoral court. 

Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic which led to over 600 thousand deaths in Brazil. He also triggered controversy ahead of the election, as he expressed doubts over the country’s voting system, raising questions about whether he would accept defeat. On the other hand, the 76-year-old former president Lula is making a bid to return to Brazil’s top job 20 years after he first stormed to the presidency. The former union leader lifted millions out of poverty during his previous tenure but has since been tainted by corruption scandals.

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