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clash between Lula and Bolsonaro, what are the stakes of this election?

Jean-Claude Gerez with AFP
modified to

07:41, October 02, 2022


More than 156 million Brazilians are called to the polls this Sunday. In a country where voting is compulsory, voters will nominate their president for the next four years. This election fraught with uncertainty is decisive for the future of the young democracy in Brazil, the first power in very fractured Latin America. In this very polarized Brazil, Lula has been prancing in the polls for several months against the outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula could win in the first round

The clash at the top between sworn enemies Jair Bolsonaro, 67, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 76, relegated the other nine candidates to the rank of extras. Former President Lula (2003-2010) was still the big favorite in the latest Datafolha poll on Saturday evening, with 50% of valid votes against 36% for Bolsonaro.

Already president between 2003 and 2011, he could even win in the first round. His popularity rating is largely based on the working classes very affected by the economic crisis and who see him as a savior. A victory for Lula, who has marked Brazilian political life for half a century and is competing for his 6th presidential election, would sign an unexpected comeback four years after his controversial imprisonment on suspicion of corruption.

Thus for many Brazilians, the election of Lula in the first round would make it possible to “end it” and escape four additional weeks of campaigning at loggerheads until a second round on October 30.

Bolsonaro could challenge the result if he loses

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right president, enjoys the support of agribusiness, the arms lobby and a large part of the evangelical faithful seduced by the values ​​of God, family and country. But his record is widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic. Poverty, which affects 60% of the population, the destruction of the Amazon and Brazil’s image internationally are all obstacles to his re-election.

It remains to be seen what the reaction of his voters will be in the event of defeat. The outgoing president has repeatedly questioned the reliability of electronic voting, which is considered one of the most secure in the world, and said it would be “abnormal” if he did not obtain at least 60% votes on Sunday and rejects “false” polls.

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