Ex-Paratrooper on Brink of Brazil's Presidency

(Bloomberg) --

A far-right former paratrooper stormed to a first-round lead in Brazil’s presidential elections on a wave of voter outrage over corruption and years of recession.

Jair Bolsonaro took 46.2 percent of valid ballots, falling just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff, and will face the leftist Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who won 29.1 percent, in a second round on Oct. 28. Bolsonaro allies also performed strongly in Congress and state assemblies. 

With such a wide margin of victory, the presidential race is now his to lose. In every election since Brazil’s return to democracy from military rule over three decades ago, the winner of the first ballot went on to capture the presidency in the runoff.

The next three weeks promise to be intense. For while Bolsonaro’s lead appears almost insurmountable, the millions who oppose his candidacy – and its undertones of misogyny, homophobia and whitewashing of the dictatorship – will make a furious, last-ditch effort to halt his march to the presidency.

But they’ll be fighting a powerful force – the sort of populism that fueled the victories of U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Brexit in the U.K.

Ex-Paratrooper on Brink of Brazil's Presidency

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What to Watch

  • French President Emmanuel Macron may announce a new cabinet as soon as today, as he prepares broad changes to jump start his presidency and draw a line under months of scandals and political setbacks.
  • Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio makes debut visit to Berlin, shrugging off European Commission attacks on his government’s fiscal plan and saying his anti-austerity view will grow stronger across the continent.
  • With the U.S. Congressional midterm elections less than a month away, Sahil Kapur takes a closer look at how the fight over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh might affect the outcome. Click here for more on the Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

And finally ... Here’s one statistic Trump won’t likely be tweeting about any time soon. The U.S. budget deficit expanded to an estimated $782 billion in his first full fiscal year as president, which would be the widest fiscal gap since 2012 when the country was still emerging from the Great Recession. While a combination of Republican tax cuts, increased federal spending and an aging population are adding to budget strains, Republicans say their tax changes will spur economic growth and lift federal revenue.

Ex-Paratrooper on Brink of Brazil's Presidency

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