Brazil prepares for another month of political battle as run-off looms
An election is scheduled for next week in Brazil’s first-ever presidential run-off between the two candidates with the most votes ahead of the 2018 election. But the candidates appear to be locked in a dead heat, as the president’s vice-president continues to lead and the former leader of the Workers’ Party continues to trail in polls.
The contest between the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, whose term ends on December 29, and Fernando Haddad, who is running for re-election, is the most high-stakes in the country’s democratic history.
The two candidates have been in a tight race since May, but the race has taken on a bitter personal tone for Haddad in recent weeks as he has accused the PT of undermining his reputation as the people’s “first citizen” and the man who took Brazil from the left to the right.
Haddad hit out at the party for its use of data-mining techniques to compile information during the 2012 election, while he has also accused the PT of corruption and manipulating the vote for his own benefit.
The party has been the dominant force in Brazilian politics for almost 60 years and has never been forced to fight for a single seat in the National Congress.
The Workers’ Party has been in power since the end of the dictatorship in 1985. But the party has failed to win the presidential election for 18 consecutive elections since 2002, and last year suffered a narrow defeat to an independent.
The PT faces the biggest challenge in its 42-year history in the run-off against Haddad.
The two have never met in person, with only President Haddad’s half-brother and PT ally Luiz Fernando Pezão meeting Haddad privately.
A survey released last week by Datafol