Brazilians in London prepare for crunch presidential vote

As Brazil prepares to go the polls again this weekend for the second round of the presidential elections, Brazilians in London have been reacting to the unexpected first round result.

Incumbent far-right President Jair Bolsonaro performed better than polls predicted in the first round, receiving 43.2% of the vote.

Many predicted that Workers’ Party candidate Lula would obtain greater than half of the vote share in the first round, but the former president fell short, winning 48.4%.

Bruna Beloso, a London-based Lula supporter, was not surprised that polls underestimated Bolsonaro’s support.

She said: “Historically we have never elected a president in the first round. I was hopeful, but I knew it would be difficult.”

Bolsonaro has has claimed that the election is rigged against him and Beloso fears the President will refuse to accept the results of Saturday’s vote.

Beloso said: “The thing is, even when he won in 2018 he still claimed that the elections were fraudulent.

“He wants to put doubts in his supporters’ minds”.

However, Fábia Santos believed that Bolsonaro’s claims about voter fraud were credible, and explained the unexpected result.

Santos said: “Brazil for a long time been a country which has had so many doubts regarding voting.

“People are concerned that voting is done electronically through a machine, it makes it very difficult to trace.”

Brazil uses an electronic voting system, widely regarded to be one of the most efficient and quickest in the democratic world.

Jessica Zaccari, another London-based Lula supporter, believed that turnout in the UK was higher than usual.

She said: “Normally Brazilians abroad don’t vote as much, but I think this time more Brazilians abroad are voting because what is at stake.

“I am really worried about what will happen for democracy in Brazil if Bolsonaro wins.”

Despite a high turnout in London, Beloso believed that voters were evenly split between the two main candidates.

Beloso said: “When you go to vote is when you realise that you live in a bubble. When I was queuing to vote I could feel that the line was about 50/50.”

Beloso is worried that violence may erupt in Brazil following the second round of voting.

She said: “If you go to the countryside and rural areas, people; specifically Bolsonaro supporters, are armed with guns.

“I fear that armed people could use guns against their opponents following the result.”

Brazilians in London and across the world will be going to polls again this Sunday.

Featured image credit: Unsplash

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