White House says Brazil's election was 'free' and 'fair'

Brazil holds general elections

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - The White House on Monday said information indicated Brazil's election over the weekend was "free" and "fair" after President Jair Bolsonaro and his leftist predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva secured spots in a Oct. 30 runoff vote.

"We congratulate Brazil's people and institutions on holding a successful first-round election and support their free exercise of the right to choose their next leader," spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

All available information indicated the election was held in a "free, fair, transparent and credible manner," she said. "We share Brazil's confidence that the second will be conducted in the same way as well."

Bolsonaro made an unexpectedly strong showing on Sunday in the deeply polarized election in the world's fourth-largest democracy. Before the vote, the right-wing president had made repeated baseless attacks on the integrity of Brazil's electronic voting system.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)