Describing the left-wing candidate most likely to become the next president of Brazil, the incumbent from the far right, Jair Bolsonaro“Little Dictator” and “King of Fake News and Stupidity” during a televised debate that will help define the political future of one of the world’s largest democracies.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who He could outsmart Bolsonaro In the first round of the presidential election in September, he blamed his opponent for his handling of Covid and High rates of deforestation in the Amazon During the two-hour feisty standoff.
“The truth is that your negligence ensured 680,000 deaths – more than half of them could have been saved,” Lula told Bolsonaro, whose sabotage of coronavirus containment and vaccination efforts has caused global outrage.
“Never in history has there been a government fooled by a pandemic or death like you did,” Lula, 76, said of Bolsonaro, who has downplayed Covid as a “little flu” and claimed he has not been vaccinated.
lola from Polls have a five or six point lead over Bolsonaro Before the run-off on October 30, he also attacked his opponent’s attack on the environment. “You showed no respect for the Amazon — absolutely none,” Lula said, vowing to create a ministry for indigenous peoples if you were elected.
“We will win this election so that we can take care of the Amazon and ban the invasion of indigenous lands and illegal mining.”
Bolsonaro responded with a counterattack in what was the first face-to-face debate between politicians during this year’s violent power struggle.
The far-right radical, who was elected in 2018 after Lula was imprisoned on corruption charges that were later dropped, berated his opponent over corruption scandals that have marred the 14 years the Workers’ Party (PT) spent in power, from 2003 to 2016. Bolsonaro announced during a debate in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, “You are a national embarrassment.”
Bolsonaro accused Lula of being close to left-wing autocrats including the leaders of Nicaragua and Venezuela, Daniel Ortega and Nicolas Maduro. But Lula dismissed the accusations, claiming that it was Bolsonaro – a former soldier notorious for his celebration of dictators like Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet – who posed a threat to Brazil’s fledgling democracy.
“My opponent is basically the most shameless lie,” Lula said. The former union leader, who ruled from 2003 to 2010, said: “I am the one who defends democracy and freedom – much more than this little little dictator…I want to govern this country democratically as I have done twice before.”
The Brazilians were progressive He was hoping to sweep Lula a sure victory On Bolsonaro in the first round of the election – but Donald Trump is a populist fan It fared better than most surveys expectedHe received 43% of the vote against Lula’s 48%. Opinion polls were predictions Bolsonaro will not get more than 37%.
Lula remains the favorite to win, but Bolsonaro’s better-than-expected performance means the election is likely to remain a focus until the results are announced.
In recent days, the two candidates have embarked on a blitzkrieg in the three southeastern states that should decide the outcome, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Together, they are home to some 64 million of Brazil’s 156 million voters.
Lula last week visited one of Rio’s largest slums, Complexo do Alemão, in an effort to win over working-class voters.
Bolsonaro risked alienating hundreds of thousands of slum dwellers during Sunday’s debate by suggesting that Lula had visited the community to connect with criminals. “There were no police around you – just drug dealers,” Bolsonaro said, angering slum activists.
“Bolsonaro doesn’t like the poor. Bolsonaro doesn’t like black people.” Rene Silva, the media activist Complexo do Alimão who arranged Lula’s visit to the favelas, tweeted.