Brazil: Weight rallies for Lula and Bolsonaro ahead of round two

Brazil: Weight rallies for Lula and Bolsonaro ahead of round two

The two opponents of the presidential election in Brazil, former left-wing head of state Lula and far-right outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, reaped clear support on Tuesday for the announced second round of voting on October 30.

The big maneuvers began two days after the first round, in which Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, icon of the left, won 48.4% of the vote, ahead of Bolsonaro, whose result was better than expected at 43.2%.

Just over six million votes separate them – out of 156 million voters – and intense negotiations and haggling have been waged by the two candidates’ staffs to rally support, sometimes at the expense of a wide ideological divide.

Lula fought his way, albeit half-heartedly, Tuesday to the center-left candidate who finished fourth in the first round, Ciro Gomes (3%), whose Democratic Workers’ Party (PDT) had just announced its campaign with the ex-president for two semesters (2003-2010).

“We just had a meeting of the leadership of the Democratic Labor Party and I’m making this video to say I support this decision,” Ciro Gomes said on social media after the PDT’s endorsement of Lula.

“Given the circumstances, this is the only solution,” added the former minister in the Lula government, without citing the name of the former left-wing president, with whom he has very acrimonious ties.

“Both options (Lula or Bolsonaro) are unsatisfactory,” he said.

– “A New Relationship” –

The Bolsonarist clan has the support of former anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, who was elected senator from Parana state (south) by 1.9 million votes in general elections taking place concurrently with the presidential election on Sunday.

Sergio Moro, Lula’s “faller” whom he sentenced to 18 months in prison in a 2018-2019 bribery case involving the Petrobras group, expressed open support for the outgoing head of state on Twitter.

“Contrary to the project of the PT (Lula’s Labor Party), for the second round I declare my support for Bolsonaro,” announced Moro, who maintains in the country the image of the herald of the fight against corruption, even if the Supreme Court found him eventually for being biased towards Lula.

The ex-judge was a big hit for Bolsonaro’s government in early 2019. But he left in April 2020, accusing the president of interfering in police investigations into cases involving his family.

“All that is over. From now on we have a new relationship (…) and more bills to settle,” assured Jair Bolsonaro from Brasilia.

The president also received support from the governors of the populous south-eastern states of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema and Rio Janeiro, Claudio Castro.

With the announcement on Twitter of Rodrigo Garcia, the incumbent governor of Sao Paulo (who was not re-elected on Sunday), Brazil’s three largest electoral colleges are backing Bolsonaro.

“We know that many things separate us and some things don’t,” Zema said, flanked by the President. “But Brazil needs to move forward and I believe much more in President Bolsonaro’s proposals.”

– “Operation open day” –

For political scientist Thomas Traumann, “Bolsonaro is making his second election campaign an open-door operation.”

“Rather than asking if he deserves a second term (…) he’s asking (voters) if the PT deserves to return to power” and “puts the PT years to the test,” he wrote in the magazine veja The party confused by Lula ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2016.

Finally, the candidate who came third on Sunday, Senator Simone Tebet (4% of the vote), has been much courted but has not yet spoken out, although she clearly leans towards Lula.

“My decision has already been made,” she announced on Sunday evening in the first half of the season and specified that she would consult her party, the MDB, before making an official announcement. This centrist formation is marked by deep divisions and includes a powerful Bolsonarist wing.

Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet together weigh 8.5 million votes.


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