Long lines instead of the feared episodes of political violence in the most polarized elections of recent times. “We don’t want any more hate,” said Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the favorite in his fight with President Jair Bolsonaro, after voting very early in São Paulo. In a day that has passed with surprising normality, after the incidents of attacks of ideological overtones that had occurred in recent weeks, the queues have marked the elections in different cities of Brazil, with waiting times of more than an hour in schools in several of the capitals of this country of continental dimensions, which has slowed down the count.
The voters had to elect not only the next president, but also the federal and state deputies, senators and governors, which complicated the process already in front of the electronic ballot boxes in which they must have the numbers of their candidates present, without being able to use the telephone cell phone. Lula, for example, had the number 13 of his Workers’ Party, while Bolsonaro had 22.
“Whoever wants to go up the stairs does not need to stand in line,” an official from the Regional Electoral Court shouts at the top of her voice as she gives directions amid the hustle and bustle of the school located in the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, a 12-story building that pales in comparison to the other skyscrapers that abound Paulista Avenue, the historic artery of the largest city in Brazil. In the middle of the afternoon, the swarm of people entering and leaving the elevators is permanent. “This is very crowded. There are five votes, that’s why it’s delayed, ”she explains to this newspaper, but she reserves her name because she is not authorized to give statements. She clarifies that at 5:00 p.m. the doors close, but those who have arrived will be able to pass, as the authorities order.
The possibility that Lula resolves the election in the first round, for which he needs half plus one of the votes, has dominated the final stretch of the campaign with insistent calls for a useful vote. “I would like to close the election now, but I think it is going to second shift”, as the second presidential round is known, says María Luisa Dantes, a 19-year-old student with pink-dyed hair who is participating in an election for the first time, after casting her vote. She has no memories of Lula’s mandates, but she is bothered by the doubts that Bolsonaro has planted in an electoral system that she considers “quite safe”. Voting is mandatory in Brazil, and optional for 16 and 17-year-olds, one of the few countries in the world that allows teenagers to vote. Measurements suggest that Lula has these first-time voters for the most part.
Felipe Bolivar, a 33-year-old businessman who comes with the shirt of the Brazilian team, as Bolsonaro has requested, waits patiently in the row of elevators. On the back is the name of Neymar Jr., who just this week recorded a video on Tik Tok in support of the far-right president. “Colors define a lot of people in Brazil. It is a way of expressing our will, and of integrating a community”, he explains. Although he makes it quite clear, he prefers not to say who his vote will be for. Other voters show up wearing red shirts, the traditional color of the PT.
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Although the loudest, Neymar is just one of the cracks who have sung their vote in the country of soccer. Another has been Rivaldo, the old glory of Barcelona, who went to vote with the yellow-green shirt. The defender Thiago Silva also referred to “God, country, family and freedom”, the alleged pillars of the Bolsonarismwhile another retired soccer player, Raí, the brother of Sócrates, has actively requested the vote for Lula.
The electronic ballot boxes that have been the target of attacks by Bolsonaro were opened as usual for a period of 9 hours, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., but this was the first time that the entire country was subordinated to Brasilia time. , the federal capital. That is to say, that all the voters turned out simultaneously, regardless of the difference between the time slots of a huge territory. However, the Superior Electoral Court has come out to clarify that voters who are already in line before closing will be able to vote normally, which prolonged the day. Pending results, its president, Alexandre de Moraes, has described it as “calm and harmonious”. The celebrations in Paulista must wait for now.
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