Brazilians are voting today in the first round of the country's most tense general election in decades, with leftist candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expected to defeat right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, Reuters and the Associated Press reported.

Most opinion polls have shown a solid lead for Lula da Silva for months, but Bolsonaro has shown he may refuse to accept defeat, sparking fears of an institutional crisis or post-election violence.

A message projected onto the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro before the vote read: "Peace in the elections."

Most polls give a 10-15 percentage point advantage to Lula da Silva, who was president from 2003 to 2010. If he wins more than 50% of the valid vote, which some pollsters say is possible, there will be no runoff.

Brazil elects a president, parliament and governors

Lula was jailed during the last election on a bribery case.

The sentence was later overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing him to face his arch-nemesis Bolsonaro.

According to him, the sentence was politically motivated.

Bolsonaro voted in Rio and said he expected to win Sunday's first-round election despite his poor showing in polls.

The former army captain does not trust the pollsters because, according to him, their results do not match the support he sees during his campaign events.

If we have a clean election, we will win today with at least 60% of the vote.

The other side failed to take to the streets, campaign and trust voters, Bolsonaro said in a video posted on his social media before the vote.

According to him, everything points to a favorable outcome for him.

"If the elections are fair, there is no problem.

May the best win!" added the current Brazilian head of state during his vote, quoted by France Press.

Bolsonaro: If I lose the election, I will leave politics

A possible victory for Lula da Silva in the first round would shift the focus of attention to Bolsonaro's reaction/ He has repeatedly questioned the reliability not only of opinion polls but also of Brazil's electronic voting machines.

Some analysts fear that he has prepared to reject the results, notes BTA.

The two candidates enjoy the support of different groups - evangelicals and white men are Bolsonaro's main supporters, while minorities, women and the poor are more likely to support Lula da Silva.



Lula da Silva