Tension to the last minute: the battle between Lula and Bolsonaro is still open after the final showdown | International

Lula and Bolsonaro, this Friday evening in the last electoral debate before the presidential elections on Sunday.
Lula and Bolsonaro, this Friday evening in the last electoral debate before the presidential elections on Sunday.MAURO PIMENTEL (AFP)

Not even the final debate between Brazil’s presidential candidates before the polls opened early Sunday decided Friday’s fight. Face to face on the channel Globo he disappointed those who expected him to tip the scales in a race that, according to the polls, is very close. Brazilians will elect a president this Sunday between Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro. The extreme right, the current president, who was five points behind the leftist in the first round last day 2, went on the offensive. But Lula was more solid during the two-hour-and-40-minute head-to-head duel.

From the very beginning, as soon as it started, the far-right president and candidate for re-election, addressing his rival, declared: “You know the system is against me” and from there he went for Lula’s neck. He tried to get out and talk about the successes of his governments (2003-2010) and plans for the future if he manages to win this Sunday’s election.

Lula calmly endured Bolsonaro’s aggressive offensive attacks, in an attempt to place corruption in the heart of the emperor because he knows very well that it is the weak point of the leftists. Again and again, the founder of the PT tried to take the president to the field of government management and answer questions about hunger — that is, about the 33 million Brazilians who do not know whether to have dinner or breakfast — about what he intends to do to make Brazil appreciated again on the international stage, about why did he cut money for the fight against violence against women. Bolsonaro responded evasively, drawing attention to his government’s more general achievements in these or other areas.

This is the second and final televised heads-up that both celebrate. They had two more with the rest of the presidential candidates before the others fell in the first round.

The debate format allowed them to question each other directly and even interact on stage. The moment Bolsonaro approached Lula, he blurted out: “I don’t want to be near you.” In the previous debate, Lula jumped when his opponent put a hand on his shoulder.

The vast majority of accusations, attacks and arguments were repeated in relation to what was heard in previous debates. And the level disappointed some observers. “We have spent a week waiting for this debate as if it were the final of the World Cup. And we have a match in the rain, with a flooded pitch, a fight in a small corner area and referee blockages,” tweeted analyst Thomas Traumann.

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Liar was again the word of the night. Especially in the mouth of Bolsonaro, who persistently lashed out at his rival. Lula made an effort to present himself as a managerial veteran who can present the achievements of two mandates to the voters. The ex-extreme right-wing soldier tried to sell himself as someone honest, without corruption affairs, who at the head of the Executive did what he could in an unfavorable situation marked by the pandemic. They debated for more than an hour when Lula brought up the coronavirus and reproached his rival for his disastrous management and lack of empathy.

The frequent religious references of the founder of the Workers’ Party, who on several occasions “thank God” for being in the presidential race, are striking. And that this week he presented a letter to evangelicals in which he refuted one by one the main falsehoods that Bolsonarism spreads about him. The leftist knows that he is at a disadvantage when the debate turns to the issue of values. That’s why he tries to avoid these problems. When Bolsonaro brought up the issue of abortion tonight, he repeated that he rejects it: “I am against abortion, and so is my wife,” he said when the current president accused him of “abortion that supports drugs and, more seriously, in favor of gender ideology.”

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