(CNN) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fell short of outright re- lection Sunday but will head into an October 29 runoff leading his closest rival, reports Trend.
With 98 percent of the votes in, the socialist da Silva -- commonly known as "Lula" -- had just 48.8 percent of the vote.
Aides to the onetime shoeshine-boy-turned-trade activist told reporters that Lula would have to face a second round of balloting in four weeks.
Social Democrat Geraldo Alckmin had 41.4 percent of the vote after a strong showing in Brazil's most populous state, Sao Paulo, where he served as governor from 2001 to early 2006.
Lula polled well in the poorer northeast, where his expanded social spending has had the greatest impact. (Brazilians turn out to vote)
Since taking office in January 2003, Lula has led Brazil on a more assertive course overseas, opposing U.S. plans for a hemispheric free-trade zone and commanding the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
For months, polls have shown da Silva easily winning the race, The Associated Press reported.
But da Silva, saw his once-commanding lead plummet on the eve of the vote as his Workers' Party was battered by allegations that party officials tried to buy a mysterious dossier that apparently contained incriminating information about a political rival. (Full story)
Major newspapers ran front-page photos over the weekend showing piles of money allegedly meant to buy information showing corrupt dealings by an opponent. Local media reported the photos were leaked by federal police.
Da Silva's party claimed that Alckmin's supporters were involved, and filed a complaint Sunday with a judge demanding that Alckmin's candidacy be declared invalid because of the leak, AP reported. The judge has said he would consider the case. Alckmin's campaign has denied involvement.
Six members of da Silva's party, including an old friend who ran his personal security detail, face arrest warrants for their alleged roles in efforts to buy the damaging nformation and da Silva fired his campaign manager days before the election. The president has repeatedly denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.