Brazil election runoff: Polls open, far-right Jair Bolsonaro favorite to win

Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro

Brazilian assets gained ahead of the final round of presidential elections on Sunday when the market-preferred presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is expected to defeat leftist rival Fernando Haddad, Reuters reports.

Bolsonaro was predicted to secure 55 percent of the vote, against 45 percent support for Haddad, an opinion poll by Datafolha revealed on Saturday. Ibope has the current difference at 54-46, which meant the gap changed to an eight-point difference in the space of four days.

During the first round of voting on October 7, Bolsonaro garnered 46 percent compared to 29 percent for Haddad.

Meanwhile, the percentage of intention to vote for Haddad in the northeastern region of Brazil increased from 57 to 60 percent.

However, polls published late Saturday from Brazil's two biggest surveying firms showed momentum shifting toward Haddad, though he still trails Bolsonaro by a solid margin.

Activists on the streets include nation-wide known artists and intellectuals sitting behind tables with information regarding both candidates, trying to convince those who usually don't vote for the PT to do so and stop Bolsonaro from reaching the presidency.

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Bolsonaro's sudden rise comes as Brazil finds itself in its worst recession and embroiled in its biggest corruption scandal after the leftist PT ran the government for 13 of the last 15 years.

Haddad's supporters are concerned that Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and a defender of its use of torture on leftist opponents, will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech.

Dubbed Brazil's Donald Trump, Bolsonaro has won many fans after promising to boost Brazil's struggling economy and tackle corruption in a country that has seen at least three heads of state tainted by financial irregularities.

He once told a congresswoman that she did not deserve to be raped because she was "very ugly", Brazil's TV Globo reported. He called the case political persecution.

On Friday he told Xingú tribes people they had a right to charge royalties for mining and hydro electric power generation on their reservations, a proposal welcomed by some natives but rejected by anthropologists and environmentalists who see the tribes as the last guardians of the Amazon rainforest and its biodiversity.

On foreign policy, Bolsonaro has echoed the U.S. president's views, promising to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and shut the Palestinian representative office in Brazil. "He is a truculent and unsafe person, and that's how he should be presented to the nation", he said.

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