Presidential in Brazil: a debate at loggerheads to end the campaign

Presidential in Brazil: a debate at loggerheads for finish the campaign


Brazilians arrived Saturday at the end of an electric presidential campaign, the day after a final televised debate at loggerheads between Lula and Jair Bolsonaro who went blow for blow before the second round on Sunday .  

“King of lies”, “bandit”, “unbalanced” … During this debate of more than two hours on Friday on TV Globo, the most watched channel in the country, the two candidates constantly accused each other of lying, at the the detriment of the exhibitions of concrete projects for the four years of mandate at stake in the ballot on Sunday. 

“Lula, stop lying, go home!”, Launched the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, 67, who went so far as to declare that his opponent should “get exorcised to stop lying”. 

The former left-wing head of state, who celebrated his 77th birthday on Thursday, was not left out: “This guy is the biggest liar in the history of Brazil”, he retorted, treating subsequently his opponent of “unbalanced”. 

Erection problems were even invited into the debate. “Do you take Viagra?” Bolsonaro asked Lula, who had called him to account for the controversial purchase of 35,000 pills of this drug for the army. 

Friday's debate came on the home stretch of an often filthy campaign full of dirty tricks and massive misinformation on social media. 

“It was an anti-debate , without the slightest novelty that could change the situation”, estimated the political columnist Otavio Guedes on the Globonews channel, at the end of this final televised debate before the second round. 

Lula slightly increased (from four to six points) his lead in the latest survey by the benchmark institute Datafolha, published Thursday, with 53% of the voting intentions expressed, against 47% for the far-right president. 

“Stay here!” 

Beyond the verbal contest, the duel was also physical. Each candidate tried to best occupy the ground in the studio transformed into an arena for a merciless fight. 

“Stay here, Lula!” said the outgoing president, while his opponent turned his back. 

“No, I don't want to stay near you!”, replied the former steelworker, who often approached very close to the cameras to speak to viewers eye to eye. 

< p>The debate was interrupted several times by shouting from the campaign teams in an attempt to destabilize the candidates. 

Lula attacked his opponent on his international policy, a subject which had practically no not covered in previous televised debates. 

“Under your government, Brazil has become a pariah. Nobody wants to receive you and nobody comes here,” he said.  

The former head of state (2003-2010) recalled that he had been received with all honors at the Élysée Palace by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2021. 

“He thinks he is the little father of the poor”, quipped Jair Bolsonaro, before calling his opponent a “bandit” who was imprisoned for 18 months for corruption in 2018 and 2019, before seeing his convictions overturned by the Supreme Court. 

In the first round, on October 2, Lula came out on top with 48% of the vote, against 43% for Jair Bolsonaro. 

But the far-right president's score turned out to be much more higher than the polls predicted, giving him some momentum for the mid-round campaign. 

Two major hiccups 

< p>However, this momentum was slowed down by two major hiccups: unwelcome statements by the Minister of the Economy Paulo Guedes, indicating that the increase in the minimum wage could no longer be indexed to inflation, and the incredible arrest of a former – Bolsonarist deputy who injured police officers with grenades. 

Feeling cornered, President Bolsonaro, who had muted his criticisms of the electronic ballot box system, found a new workhorse this week: the denunciation of alleged irregularities in the broadcasting of electoral propaganda on the radio. 

The Superior Electoral Court (TSE) has rejected the request of the campaign team of the head of the State, arguing that no evidence had been presented, which could constitute an “electoral offence” and an attempt to “destabilize the second round”. 

According to experts, Mr. Bolsonaro is preparing the field to contest the result in the event of defeat, fueling the crai nts of violent incidents, like the invasion of the Capitol in Washington after the defeat of Donald Trump in the American presidential election, in January 2021.