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Far-right Bolsonaro stumbles in race for Brazil presidency

Rio de Janeiro
The far-right frontrunner to be Brazil's next president, Jair Bolsonaro, stumbled Wednesday by spooking previously supportive investors, while a spate of violent incidents pointed to deep polarization caused by the election race.
The Brazilian stock market fell, pulled lower by steep plunges in state-run energy companies, after Bolsonaro made clear his promises for privatizations and pension reform were a lot less ambitious than many expected.
Protests calling Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper, a"fascist" were planned for Sao Paulo on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sensing an opportunity to make up ground, trailing leftist candidate Fernando Haddad pressed for televised debates against Bolsonaro ahead of an October 28 run-off to decide the presidency.
It was unclear, however, what impact the developments would have on Bolsonaro's substantial lead going into that election.
The populist ultra-conservative won 46 percent of the vote in a first round held last Sunday, despite detractors highlighting his contentious past comments demeaning women and gays, and speaking in favor of torture and Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

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