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Analysis, The Opposition : Haddad’s task only a grand democratic alliance can stop Bolsonaro

Par Tom Phillips - 2 mn

Brazilian leftists heaved a huge collective sigh of relief last Sunday night after Jair Bolsonaro – the homophobic, dictatorship-praising far-right frontrunner – fell just short of a stunning first-round victory that would have made him president of one of the world’s largest and most diverse democracies.

Their relief may be short-lived. Fernando Haddad , Bolsonaro’s opponent in the pivotal secondround vote on 28 October, has a mountain almost as high as Brazil’s Pico da Neblina to climb if he is to scupper the rightwing populist’s dramatic political ascent.

Bolsonaro secured more than 49m votes – 46% of the total and just shy of the majority he needed for an outright win – while his Workers’ party (PT) opponent won just 28 %, or 31m votes.

Just to draw level with Bolsonaro, Haddad would need virtually every single one of the voters who opted for the third- and fourth-placed candidates, Ciro Gomes and Geraldo Alckmin, to switch to his side.

“The path for Haddad to close that gap...