A far-right former army captain who has praised military dictatorships, defended the use of torture and insulted women and racial minorities easily won the first round of voting in Brazil’s bitterly contested presidential election, advancing to a runoff in three weeks against the main leftist candidate.
With nearly all of the vote counted Sunday night, Jair Bolsonaro was leading with 47%. He needed 50% to win outright and avoid a runoff with the second-place candidate, Fernando Haddad, who garnered 29% of the vote.
Haddad is a member of the leftist Workers’ Party, which ruled Brazil from 2003 until 2016 and until a few months ago seemed poised to return to power. Overall, right and center-right candidates in the 13-person race generally performed better than those on the left, which bodes well for Bolsonaro in the Oct. 28 runoff.