Brazil: 7 days before the presidential election, a possible victory for Lula in the 1st ballot

Brazil: 7 days before the presidential election, a possible victory for Lula in the 1st ballot

A week before the presidential election, Brazil enters the home stretch of an ultra-polarized campaign that ends in a merciless duel between Jair Bolsonaro and Lula, whose election seems possible in the first round.

If 11 candidates are running, it will be the battle between former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (47% of voting intentions according to the latest Datafolha poll) and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro (33%). the attention.

Consequently, opinion polls have been granting Lula, president from 2003 to 2010 and leader of the Labor Party (PT, left), a third term for months to lead the first power in Latin America.

The former steelworker left power with stratospheric approval ratings (87%) before being embarrassed in prison for corruption (2018-2019) and barred from running again. His election at the age of 76 would mark a remarkable comeback.

It is currently benefiting from a momentum. “Polls say there’s a real possibility Lula will win the first round,” Oct. 2 notes Fernanda Magnotta, an analyst at the FAAP Foundation in Sao Paulo.

Lula could benefit from the “useful vote” if “voters flock to him for less competitive candidates like Ciro Gomes,” she explains, of the centre-left candidate, who is ranked 3rd (7%) in polls, ahead of Simone Tebet ( center-right, 5%).

Presidential elections in Brazil: the main candidates (AFP – Nicolas RAMALLO)

The much-discussed “useful vote” has become the dominant theme of Lula’s campaign.

For Carolina Brigido, columnist for the UOL news site, “the typical attitude of Brazilian voters is to wait until the election date approaches to vote for their favorite.”

In recent days, Lula has been riding a wave of support: Ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso called on Brazilians to vote “for democracy,” and his ex-Environment Minister Marina Silva joined him after a long wrangling.

Left-wing politicians and intellectuals in Latin America called on Ciro Gomes to resign to facilitate Lula’s victory.

– “It can be dangerous”-

But on Friday, Jair Bolsonaro, 67, of the Liberal Party (PL), assured at a meeting in Minas Gerais (southeast): “We will win in the 1st round”.

On Telegram, Bolsonarist networks are campaigning to state that if their champion is not elected on October 2nd, it will be because the election will have been fraudulent.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during an election debate on SBT TV channel in Sao Paulo, September 24, 2022 (AFP - Miguel SCHINCARIOL)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during an election debate on SBT TV channel in Sao Paulo, September 24, 2022 (AFP – Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

The fear of a Brazilian repeat of the attack on the Capitol is on everyone’s lips.

“It can be dangerous,” Ms Magnotta said, “Bolsonaro will most likely invoke voter fraud, like Donald Trump, it will shake up his supporters.”

Because the ex-army captain can count on battalions of supporters who are ready for anything. He himself has repeatedly violently attacked the institutions of the young Brazilian democracy, such as the Supreme Court, and led a virulent campaign against electronic ballot boxes that would promote “fraud”.

But suddenly this unpredictable president lowered his tone and also declared that if he lost, he would retire from politics.

The procedure on the evening of the 1st round is therefore not predictable.

– “thief, incompetent” –

Bolsonaro and Lula’s election campaign was characterized more by personal attacks – “thief”, “incompetent” – than by the presentation of programs.

The daily O Globo urged Lula on Saturday to propose “a coherent economic project” because “if he wins, no one knows how he will govern”.

The candidates traversed gigantic Brazil and held countless meetings in bulletproof vests.

Ciro Gomes, centre-left presidential candidate in Brazil, during an election debate on SBT television in Sao Paulo on September 24, 2022 (AFP - Miguel SCHINCARIOL)
Ciro Gomes, centre-left presidential candidate in Brazil, during an election debate on SBT television in Sao Paulo on September 24, 2022 (AFP – Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

The issue of environment and climate has fallen by the wayside in this protected Amazon country, unlike hunger, inflation or corruption, the worries of the majority of 214 million Brazilians.

To cast a wide net, Lula tried to flirt with the evangelicals who form the base of Jair Bolsonaro’s agribusiness and pro-gun constituency. He also decided to run for the very dovish ex-governor of Sao Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, from the centre, in a bid to reassure markets concerned about his election.

For his part, Mr. Bolsonaro is unsuccessfully trying to seduce a female electorate who are fleeing him, largely because of his sexist remarks, and who, according to polls, have also plowed through the Nordeste, stronghold of Lula, without much effect.

Lula supporters attend a meeting of Brazil's leftist presidential candidate in Sao Paulo on September 24, 2022 (AFP - CAIO GUATELLI)
Lula supporters attend a meeting of Brazil’s leftist presidential candidate in Sao Paulo on September 24, 2022 (AFP – CAIO GUATELLI)

Incorrect information is piling up on social networks like never before. They are also being disseminated by the presidential candidates themselves, on television and even on the UN platform last Tuesday by Jair Bolsonaro.

In the coming week, the sworn enemies will put their last energies into battle, with large gatherings and a much-anticipated televised debate on Thursday, which Lula is supposed to be present for, unlike Saturday.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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