Ronaldinho endorses far-right Brazilian presidential candidate

Jair Bolsonaro

Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro just missed outright victory in Sunday's vote, and will face former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers' Party in an October 28 runoff.

Long before Sunday's election that saw Jair Bolsonaro get 46 percent the vote in the first round of the presidential race, many observers flirted with the idea that the far-right congressman was a "tropical" Trump.

In the interview, he said that record crime rates in Brazil were the main concern for Brazilians, including women.

"It depends on his capacity to move to the centre and show that he is his own man, that he's not a puppet [for Lula]".

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., with 96 percent of votes tallied, Bolsonaro had just under 47 percent of the vote; Haddad trailed him with 28 percent. Bolsonaro, who will now compete in a second-round runoff on October 28, presented himself as someone who tells it like it is while promising to dismantle a dysfunctional political system and seeking to capture the imagination of many citizens afraid of losing their place in an increasingly diverse and inclusive society.

Haddad is followed by Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labour Party, Geraldo Alckmin (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) and Marina Silva (Sustainability Network).

"In the past few weeks every sort of attack against Bolsonaro was made and the only result was his growth", he said.

The Social Liberty party candidate has stirred controversy by making misogynistic and homophobic remarks and has often been compared to US President Donald Trump and the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte. He was unable to campaign or participate in debates as he underwent surgeries during a three-week hospital stay, but instead brought messages directly to voters via Facebook and Twitter.

While the practical effect of #EleNão was not almost as strong as expected, in the three weeks before the second-round vote, the Workers' Party campaign will approach defeated rivals in a bid to form a broad centrist alliance in "defense of democracy".

Critics of Bolsonaro and political analysts have watched his rise with alarm, fearing he could become an authoritarian leader in the mold of Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.

A run-off was seen as too close to call, given the plus-or-minus two-point margin of error, though Bolsonaro was seen with a small edge: 45 percent, to 41-43 percent for Haddad.

Brian Winter, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly magazine, said the results underscored "the total disappearance of the Brazilian centre" and that Bolsonaro seemed nearly certain to glide to victory.

"These elections are a real chance for us", said Nailma Bispo, a business developer from Ilheus to ABC News. "We have had a really significant number of big wigs removed and to that extent it's a protest vote and a vote for change", he added.

In one of his last appeals to voters before Sunday's voting, Mr Bolsonaro tweeted that he would "defend the family and the innocence of children, treat criminals as such and not get involved in corruption schemes".

As the Car Wash probe developed, endless accounts by jailed businessmen of their corrupt relations with PT officials, including first and foremost Lula, provided further means for the weakening of the PT and finally, for the jailing of Lula himself. The last indigenous person elected was Mario Juruna, who won a seat in 1982 from Rio de Janeiro to much fanfare.

Aragao, for his part, said the election had been consumed by feeling, discussion involving facts, figures and firm proposals on how to solve Brazil's social, political and economic problems drowned out.

Bolsonaro's rightist critique of Brazilian society is far more scathing.

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