Gloves off in Brazil as Lula, Bolsonaro officially start courting voters

gloves off in brazil as lula, bolsonaro officially start courting voters

Gloves off in Brazil as Lula, Bolsonaro officially start courting voters

Tuesday marked the official beginning of the campaigns of Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his leftist front-runner rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for Brazil’s most divisive elections in decades.

Bolsonaro, a nationalist-populist with a conservative Christian agenda is running against a former union leader who served as president of the nation for two terms (2003–2010) but was imprisoned for corruption before his convictions were overturned.

In Juiz de Fora, where he was stabbed during the 2018 campaign that propelled him to power on a wave of anti-Lula enthusiasm, Bolsonaro, a former army captain, addressed a throng early on Tuesday afternoon.

Watch | Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro attends religious rally in an attempt to woo voters

“Our country doesn’t want corruption anymore, it wants order and prosperity,” he said.

Lula began his campaign with a stop at the Volkswagen car factory’s gates in industrial Sao Bernardo dos Campos outside of Sao Paulo, where he became a labour leader in the 1970s and pushed for better pay despite suppression under the military dictatorship. At 76, Lula is nine years older than his rival.

In a video shared on social media early on Tuesday, Lula claimed that under Bolsonaro, hunger had returned to Brazil and that families unable to make ends meet on minimum wage were being affected by inflation.

He declared as he began his campaign for reelection, “We are going to have a lot of work to rebuild this country.”

“I want to be president to change people’s lives again, because the way it is, no one can take it anymore,” he posted.

Most polls show Lula to have a double-digit lead for the October 2 election, and simulations of an anticipated second-round runoff on October 30 show Lula to have a larger lead over Bolsonaro.

Also read | PM hopeful Liz Truss criticises UK employees, in a controversial leaked audio. Here’s what she said

According to a survey conducted on Monday by IPEC, formerly known as IBOPE, Lula received 44 per cent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 32 per cent in the first round, significantly ahead of the other 10 contenders. In a run-off, Lula would triumph with 51 per cent of the vote over Bolsonaro’s 35 per cent, a 16-point advantage. Additionally, 57 per cent of Brazilians reject and 37 per cent favour Bolsonaro’s leadership of the nation.

Nevertheless, Bolsonaro has reduced Lula’s advantage in recent weeks by boosting welfare spending for the poor in Brazil and pressuring the government-owned oil corporation Petrobras to cut fuel prices, a major contributor to inflation.

(With inputs from agencies)

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