UPDATE, 13 Oct.: The comment thread continues to grow, with lots of great discussion of the elections, including the preference vote used in the legislative election, and the representation of women. Thanks, propagators!
Incumbent Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva obtained 48.6% of the vote in his reelection bid. His closest challenger, Geraldo Alckmin, came in at 41.6%. Brazil requires an absolute majority, which Lula missed by about 1.4 percentage points (about 8,023,101 votes).
I have expressed my skepticism before (in this block of plantings on “electing presidents” and in specific discussions of Haiti and Congo) of requiring the “magic number” of one vote more than half, when the leading candidate is much closer to 50% than to his or her closest challenger.
In any event there will be a runoff, which will be expensive and divisive. And, almost certainly unnecessary. I know of no case anywhere in which a leading candidate with more than 47% has been defeated in a runoff by a challenger who was more than a few percentage points behind. (If anyone knows of a case, please comment; I collect these sorts of things like I collect fruit trees!)
The third-place candidate, with 6.9%, is a leftist defector from Lula’s Workers Party (PT).
Congressional and state elections were also held in Brazil on Sunday. I have not seen results. How did the PT do?