Voting begins in Brazilian elections; Lula clear favourite

The latest opinion polls give leftist Lula a lead of over 20 percentage points over Social Democrat Geraldo Alckmin.

By DPA
October 29, 2006 16:49
1 minute read.
Voting begins in Brazilian elections; Lula clear favourite

lula 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Polls opened Sunday in Brazil's presidential run-off with incumbent Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva seeking a second four-year term. Polling stations began opening at 1100 GMT in the areas where most of Brazil's population of more than 180 million is concentrated, and were due to open up to two hours later in the country's western regions. An estimated 126 million Brazilians are expected to vote, which is compulsory for citizens ages 18-70. In Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and other eastern cities, polling stations were scheduled to close by 2000 GMT. Brazil's electoral tribunal (TSE) has forecast that 90 per cent of the votes should be counted by 0100 GMT Monday. The latest opinion polls ahead of the runoff in Latin America's most populous country and largest economy give leftist Lula, 61, a lead of over 20 percentage points over Social Democrat Geraldo Alckmin, 53. Political analysts have pointed out that corruption charges against Lula's Worker's Party contributed his falling short of outright re-election in the first-round election on October 1. A former trade union leader and metalworker, Lula obtained 48.61 per cent of the vote to Alckmin's 41.64. With no candidate topping the 50-per-cent threshold, a run-off was required, pitting the top two finishers. Ten of Brazil's 27 governors races are also to be decided in run-offs Sunday.

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