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Brazil’s two most prominent presidential candidates, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, officially launched their campaigns for Brazil’s October elections on Tuesday. Their political careers.
Lula, 76, held his first campaign rally at a car factory near São Paulo (southeast) in São Bernardo do Campo, where he worked as a blacksmith before becoming a union boss in the 1970s.
Lula, the most likely candidate according to opinion polls, began his campaign by saying, “It all started, here I became politically aware (…) I came here on this important day in my life, at the beginning of the election campaign, to say that we are going to miss the election.”
Lola appeared in a white shirt and took the stage surrounded by hundreds of ironworkers.
Despite his advanced age, Lula says he has the same energy as he did in his thirties and wants to “take the country back” from Bolsonaro, who has sharply criticized his rival’s handling of the pandemic that has killed 680,000 people in Brazil. He accused him of “genocide”.
“If anyone is possessed by the devil, it’s Bolsonaro,” Lula, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, said to cheers of support.
In a statement to AFP, 48-year-old Mauricio Sousa, who welcomed his candidate with trumpets, said: “Lula is the hope of Brazilians to improve their conditions, he represents the power of the workers.”
Adriano Loreno, a political analyst at the consultancy “Prospectiva”, told AFP that Lula had always returned to his union roots at key moments in his political career to “reinforce his image as a representative of the workers”.
And he continues, “For Bolsonaro, he wants to show that (God chose him) to survive an assassination attempt in 2018,” considering the elections “the most polarized since the restoration of democracy” after an era of military tyranny. (1964-1985).
God, Home, Family and Freedom
Before Lula launched his campaign, Bolsonaro launched in 2018 from the site of an assassination attempt in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, describing Juís de Fora as “the city where I was reborn.”
The 67-year-old ex-army relied on the symbol in all its details to launch his election campaign when he took to the platform set up at the same intersection where the stabbing took place on September 6, 2018.
Bolsonaro wore a black robe that covered his neck, said he was wearing a bulletproof vest, and delivered a speech filled with nationalist slogans and references to God and the Bible.
Supporters of the far-right leader “Mito Mito Mito” (meaning legend) rallied around the slogan “God, Fatherland, Family and Freedom” and wore T-shirts in the colors of the Brazilian flag.
Bolsonaro invited his wife, whom he called “the most important person here,” to speak, as a die-hard evangelical was applauded by the crowd. First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro invited the audience to close their eyes and recite a prayer.
“It’s about our future … the future of the family and the country, and most of the people here are loyalists,” said 55-year-old policeman Marzio Pargiona.
“The purge started four years ago and I want it to continue, I want the left to be uprooted from the country,” Jacqueline Lopes, a 50-year-old teacher from Rio de Janeiro, told AFP.
The difference narrows
Lula regained his political rights in 2021 after judicial convictions against him in a major corruption case were overturned, and he currently leads the polls, but his opponent has managed to close the gap.
On Monday evening, an IPEC poll showed a comfortable lead for the former leftist president with 44% of voting intentions in the first round, compared to 32% for incumbent President Bolsonaro.
At the end of July, a poll conducted by the reference company “Datafolia” showed Lula with 47% of voting intentions in the first round, compared to 29% for Bolsonaro.
According to surveys, Brazilians are most worried about the economic situation and the high unemployment and inflation rates in recent years, which has led to a decline in Bolsonaro’s popularity.
On Tuesday evening, Justice Alexandre de Moraes was appointed as the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Marais, one of Bolsonaro’s most embarrassing figures, has ordered an investigation into the president for spreading false information about the electoral system.
Brazil’s president has long questioned the reliability of the electronic voting system in use in the country since 1996.
His stance raises fears that he will not recognize the election results in case of defeat.
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