Brazil's polarized election enters last day of campaigning

Protesters carry posters against the far-right’s presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo Brazil on Sept. 29 2018

Protesters carry posters against the far-right’s presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo Brazil on Sept. 29 2018

Brazil's Workers' Party is comparing far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to Adolf Hitler in a new video.

Both the Ibope and Datafolha polls showed Bolsonaro and Haddad statistically tied in a run-off vote, required if no candidate takes a majority on Sunday.

Mr Bolsonaro's closest rival is centre-Left Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who, with 25 per cent, is set to face Mr Bolsonaro in a run-off later this month.

Bolsonaro's chances of winning on Sunday would be boosted if there is high abstention, and if many voters cast blank or spoiled ballots, said Leonardo Barreto, head of Brasilia-based political consultancy Factual.

Far from harming his grassroots campaign, Datafolha reports Bolsonaro's preference increased from 28% to 32% after the global outrage as opposed to Haddad's, who went down 1pc to 21%.

Bolsonaro has tapped into disillusionment with a weak economy, political graft and rising violence.

The former Sao Paulo mayor is the PT candidate after former PT president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was barred from the election by the country's Electoral Court. Lula's hand-picked successor, Fernando Haddad, is now placing second in most polls.

Earlier, in a live speech over Facebook, Bolsonaro rejected accusations he was racist, sexist and homophobic, though he has faced charges for hate speech against these groups. He has been covering the election from Rio de Janeiro.

An admirer of Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship, Bolsonaro has won massive support from the fast-growing evangelical community by vowing to block the legalization of abortion, gay marriage and drugs.

The signs that Bolsonaro is gaining momentum led Brazil's stock index up to a near five-month high and its currency to its strongest level in nearly two months on Wednesday. Yet, these leftist gains are likely to have little impact on the hard-line shift that a Bolsonaro administration would make on law and order and economic and social policy.

In an interview published on Friday by the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo, one of the candidate's top economic advisers said Bolsonaro would push ahead with privatizing state power firm Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, or Eletrobras.

However, he pledged to keep state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and lender Banco do Brasil SA in government hands.

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