Brazil began voting on Sunday in a divisive presidential run-off election whose front-runner, far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, is vowing to rescue the country from crisis with a firm grip. Bolsonaro – who has tapped deep anti-establishment anger but repulsed part of the electorate with his denigrating remarks about women, gays and blacks – faces leftist Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor. Bolsonaro had an eight- to 10-point lead going in, according to two final opinion polls released on Saturday, which gave him about 55% of the vote. And while Haddad has made up ground – he trailed by as much as 18 points two weeks ago – it would take a dramatic surge for him to win. "This thing is going to turn around," Haddad told thousands of supporters at his final campaign rally on Saturday.

Bolsonaro made his own final pitch on social media, the only place he has campaigned since an attacker stabbed him in the stomach at a rally last month, sending him to hospital for...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now