Brazilians already vote in the tight second round of the presidential elections between Lula and Bolsonaro

(CNN) — The polls opened this Sunday in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election disputed by former leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who has seen the polls adjust drastically in recent weeks.

Voting will continue until 5 pm (Miami time) in Brazil’s capital Brasilia, with the country’s electronic voting system confirming the results about two hours after voting concluded.

Neither Lula nor Bolsonaro got more than 50% of the vote in the first round on October 2, forcing the ssecond round of this Sunday.

Lula finished ahead in the initial race, obtaining more than 6 million votes and around 5 percentage points more than Bolsonaro. However, the president remained in the lead in the crucial states of the southeast, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil has more than 156 million people eligible to vote in elections, and voting is mandatory in the country for everyone between 18 and 70 years old. The candidates voted early on Sunday; Lula in a public school in the São Paulo metropolitan area, according to his press offices.

Bolsonaro cast his vote in Rio de Janeiro early Sunday morning. Wearing a yellow and green jersey, the colors of the Brazilian flag, Bolsonaro said: “God willing, we will be victorious later today. Or, better yet, Brazil will emerge victorious,” after voting at a polling station in the city’s Marechal Hermes neighborhood.

Bolsonaro is expected to travel to the capital, Brasilia, where he will follow the vote and count the results from the official presidential residence, the Alvorada Palace, a presidential statement said on Friday.

The election comes amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil. Currently, the country is struggling with high inflation, limited growth and growing poverty.

The polls have been adjusted before the second round on Sunday. Credit: Vasco Cotovio/CNN

A poll conducted on Saturday by Datafolha found that 52% of Brazilians would vote for Lula, while 48% would choose Bolsonaro, indicating a reduction in opinion polls in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Both candidates have used this election to attack each other throughout, with the mounting anger overshadowing the polls and clashes between their supporters leaving many voters fearful of what is to come.

Voters in Sao Paulo told CNN they are eager to end this election season as soon as possible so the country can move on.

Lula da Silva served two terms as president, from 2003 to 2006 and 2007 to 2011, in which he led the country through a commodity boom that helped finance huge social welfare programs and lifted millions of people out of poverty. poverty.

He left office with a 90% approval rating, a record clouded by Brazil’s largest corruption investigation, dubbed “Operation Lava Jato,” which led to charges against hundreds of high-ranking politicians and businessmen across Latin America. He was convicted of corruption and money laundering in 2017, but a court threw out his conviction in March 2021, paving the way for his political resurgence.

Bolsonaro ran for president in 2018 with the conservative Liberal Party, campaigning as a political and anti-corruption candidate, and earning the nickname “Trump of the tropics.” Bolsonaro, a divisive figure, has become known for his bombastic statements and his conservative agenda, which has the support of important evangelical leaders in the country.

But poverty has grown during his presidency, and his popularity levels have been affected by his handling of the pandemic, which he dismissed as the “little flu” before the virus killed more than 680,000 people in the country.

The Bolsonaro government has also been known for its support of the ruthless exploitation of the land in the Amazon, which has led to record numbers of deforestation. Environmentalists have warned that the future of the rainforest could be at stake in this election.

Brazilians already vote in the tight second round of the presidential elections between Lula and Bolsonaro