With more than 90 percent of votes counted, far-right Brazilian candidate Jair Bolsonaro was leading Sunday in the country's presidential election, electoral court TSE reported.
Bolsonaro had 47 percent of the votes with 92.5 percent of returns in, according to election officials. Bolsonaro, 63, was the unexpected front-runner going into Sunday's election, but if he manages to garner 50 percent of the vote, he will win the presidency outright.
He is a far-right former Army captain who has praised the country's past military dictatorship and has insulted women and gay people, as well as the country's black and indigenous populations. His views have earned him the nickname of "Tropical Trump," a reference to the controversial U.S. president. He has also promised to crackdown on crime by loosening controls on Brazil's already deadly police forces.
The election in Latin America's largest economy follows the revelation of a huge political corruption scandal in Brazil, one of the largest corruption scandals in Latin American history.
His closest rival is leftist candidate Fernando Haddad, who has 28 percent of the vote. Haddad is a stand-in for former President Luiz Inacio da Silva, who is jailed and was barred from running.
Although the two men come from different sides of the political spectrum, each ran a campaign based on nostalgia for a return to traditional values and better, simpler times.
"I voted against thievery and corruption,'' Mariana Prado, 54, a human resources expert, told the Associated Press. "I know that everyone promises to end these two things, but I feel Bolsonaro is the only one can help end my anxieties.''
However, Monica de Bolle, director of Latin American Studies at Johns Hopkins University, told AP, "These are the strangest elections I've ever seen. It's shaping up to be a contest between the two weakest candidates possible."
If neither Bolsonaro nor Haddad – from the field of 13 candidates – receives a majority of the votes, a run-off vote will be held October 28.