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Brazil's Lula fails to avoid run-off vote

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Brazil's Lula fails to avoid run-off vote

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It was a close call but Brazil must vote again on whether to keep Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as president or give the job to his rival. The country´s electoral court says he won the ballot but was just short of the tally needed for an outright victory. A scandal affecting the leftist leader’s campaign is being blamed for the drop in votes that denied him a first-round win.

He claimed 49 percent of the vote, his nearest challenger, Geraldo Alckmin of the centrist Social Democrats, took 41 percent. The pair will face a run-off election on October 29. With Lula’s commanding lead in earlier opinion polls having disappeared, Alckmin says he has the initiative. He told supporters he had “a greater expectation” of winning next time. A second round will give the opposition more time to rally support and try to dig up further allegations of shady campaign tactics by Lula’s Workers party.