Brazilians to vote in second round as COVID-19 rages | Latin America


Brazilians are preparing to go to the polls for the second round of municipal elections on Sunday, as COVID-19 infections continue to rise in the South American country.
Voters will vote in races for mayors and city councils in 57 Brazilian municipalities, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the country’s two most populous cities, where mayoral races remain undecided.

Brazil’s first ballot on November 15 involved some 500,000 city council candidates and 19,000 mayoral candidates in more than 5,570 municipalities.

The vote was the first time Brazilians have gone to the polls since the election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in 2018.

A man registers to vote in municipal elections at a polling station in Rio de Janeiro [Silvia Izquierdo/AP]

Bolsonaro-backed candidates performed poorly in the first round, with just nine of the nearly 60 presidential-backed candidates moving on to the next round, according to a tally from the Estado de S Paulo newspaper.

Bolsonaro, who has resisted COVID-19 restrictions and has been antagonistic to local leaders who have imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus, easily won Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 2018.

But the two candidates he supported in those cities this time around did not qualify for the second round.

Brazil recorded 51,922 new cases of COVID-19 and 587 additional virus-related deaths on Saturday, bringing its totals since the start of the pandemic to more than 6.2 million cases and more than 172,500 deaths.

Brazil has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, after India and the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Guilherme Boulos, a rising star of the Brazilian left who is running for mayor of Sao Paulo, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

The diagnosis forced Boulos to cancel his latest debate against centrist incumbent mayor Bruno Covas, who himself contracted the virus in June.

Boulos’ campaign said he was asymptomatic but “will observe the quarantine protocol for as long as necessary”.


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