Bolsonaro and Lula exchanged attacks and insults in the last debate before the ballotage in Brazil

The candidates for the presidency of Brazil met for the last time before the elections

Of this incredible electoral campaign that has literally divided Brazil in two for the first time, the symbolic image of the last televised debate between the president Jair Messiah Bolsonaro and his opponent Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Broadcast by the main Brazilian television network, Balloon, both appeared before millions of Brazilians glued to their screens as two archetypal characters who had come, each with their own ideas, to save Brazil. Lula wanted to embody the role of the pacifier, of which he will return peace and love even between the parties in a country “torn by hate”, as he has often repeated in this electoral campaign. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, has run as the patriot, the president all ‘God, country and family’, who in this debate, as his campaign team has agreed, has played all or nothing. And that once the confrontation with Lula was over, he said in an interview with TV Globe that he would not contest the outcome of the elections. “Whoever gets the most votes will be president.”.

In the middle were the spectators-voters eager to understand who was really worth voting on Sunday, although the issues discussed were the same as in the first debate between the two after the first round, on October 16.

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The latest polls, in fact, confirm a adjusted face to face in Sunday’s vote with the risk of surprises. According to the survey of Datafolha published this Thursday, Lula would have 53% of the valid votes and Bolsonaro 47%, while the undecided or blank or invalid votes would represent 7%. The survey Modalmais/Future published a few hours before the debate began, it gave the current president 50.3% of the valid votes and Lula 49.7%, with close to 6% undecided or blank and invalid votes. According to Lula’s campaign, the debate on Balloon it was an opportunity to convince voters to participate in the elections next Sunday. The reduction in abstention could be decisive in a scenario in which the polarization against Bolsonaro has become more intense in this second round.

Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva in the last debate (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)
Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva in the last debate (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)

That is why the candidate of the Workers’ Party (PT) defended the vote and encouraged the poorest to go to the polls through the free transportation released by the Supreme Court (STF) in this second round. “I want to leave a message of hope so that people go to vote. This country can give a result when it is governed well, “said Lula upon arriving at the television studios, adding that in his government” the people were happy “.

As soon as the debate began, Lula replied to Bolsonaro that he had been drawn to ask the first question, that he had not come to speak with the president “but with the Brazilian people”, a line he maintained during the two-hour live broadcast, often addressing viewers looking at the camera. An election that immediately marked the polarization of the debate and an increasingly tense climate. In the end, Lula came to the debate after a tight training session with his campaign coordinator. Edinho Silva and even with the former minister of social communication franklin martins.

The first topic discussed was economy, that is, the minimum wage, pensions and the Auxilio Brasil, a subsidy of 600 reais, about 110 dollars, which is granted to more than 53 million Brazilians living in poverty. Lula accused the current government of the plan to deindex the minimum wage and the end of the deduction of spending on education and health in the income tax. Both proposals were aired by the Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, and later denied by the Government.

But it quickly passed to the abuse, with Lula accusing the president of being a liar. “People know that you have promised many things that you have not fulfilled,” he attacked the president, “you have lied 6,498 times” and Bolsonaro, addressing the “father of the poor,” accused him in turn of being a “liar and bandit.” .

The debate continued to heat up when the Chief Executive introduced the issue of corruption. As in the first debate, Bolsonaro was accompanied in the television studios in Rio de Janeiro by the newly elected senator sergio moro, the symbolic judge of the Lava Jato operation that uncovered the largest corruption network in Brazil and led to Lula’s arrest in 2018. When questioned on the subject, Lula tried to divert the response by accusing Bolsonaro of corruption by speaking of the more than 50 properties that the president and his relatives would have bought with cash. “He has 35 trials and six are criminal. A prosecutor will soon come for you. Get ready.” “You should be in jail,” Bolsonaro replied, “What do you teach young Brazilians, that crime pays?”

And corruption also entered the topic of foreign policy when Lula said that Bolsonaro is not invited anywhere abroad and asked him: “Do you want to remain isolated worse than Cuba?” The president’s reaction was inevitable, since he accused his opponent of giving $1 billion precisely to the Cuban government to build ports. “What did he ask for as collateral? cigars His foreign policy is with Cuba and with Maduro, the dictator of Venezuela.”

The question of the censorship of the station young bread, which by decision of the Superior Electoral Court (STE) can no longer talk about Lula’s criminal record, also brought the issue of corruption to the fore. For Lula it would not be a question of censorship, but of a request for “isonomy” and the right of reply.

Inevitable, then, was the reference to the former deputy Robert Jefferson, of the Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), who under house arrest fired at the Federal Police who had come to arrest him for offending the judge of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Carmen Lucia. “He’s your gunman,” Lula said, looking at Bolsonaro, who immediately countered by saying that Jefferson blew up the Lula government by revealing the Mensalão scandal in 2005.

Lula supporters watch the debate (REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)
Lula supporters watch the debate (REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

The poverty It was the third big topic of the night, although pundits wondered how much the vote of the undecided could change. “Why are there 33 million people who have nothing to eat?” asked Lula. “There are people who are hungry, but all you have to do is sign up for Aid Brazil to get the 600 reais in aid,” was the response from Bolsonaro, who throughout the debate tried to highlight the positive data from the economy of his presidency, thanks to “a prosperity government. “Prosperity for whom? Perhaps for the Bolsonaro family,” Lula countered.

Bolsonaro was more cunning, choosing the issue of the constitution, to draw the attention of the debate to the invasions of the Movement of the Landless (MST), always a radical wing of the Workers’ Party (PT). The objective was clearly to convince farmers in Minas Gerais, one of the key states, along with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, decisive for Sunday’s vote. “I delivered 420,000 property titles, of which 80% were women. You, on the other hand, use the people to bring terror to the fields”, Bolsonaro attacked Lula.

This time the great absentee was the issue of “moral customs”, that is, abortion and gender, which so animated the president’s campaign on social networks. Just a few mutual accusations. “Lula, you are a convinced abortionist.” “No, my wife Janja and I are against it,” the former president replied. However, more space was given to the issue of the pandemic, with Lula accusing the Bolsonaro government of not responding quickly to the COVID-19 emergency. “If you were able to have the vaccine, you have me to thank,” the president replied. The PT accused Bolsonaro of not visiting hospitals during the pandemic or showing solidarity with the victims. Bolsonaro responded that the country is “much better” today than before the pandemic and accused the PT governments for spending millions on the World Cup stadiums instead of investing them in health, adding: “You closed 40,000 beds.”

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Even Lula’s misstep in praising the project More Doctors in his government, that is, the use of Cuban doctors sent by the government of Havana, a project that is actually highly criticized and the subject of an ongoing lawsuit in Miami for slave labor.

The PT candidate also mentioned a suspected purchase of Viagra by the armed forces during the Bolsonaro government. Immediately, the president explained that the drug would cure prostate problems and asked Lula if he uses it.

The last moments of the direct feature length were dedicated to organized crime, violence and weapons, with Bolsonaro accusing Lula of favoring Brazil’s main criminal group, the First Capital Command. On his side, Lula said that he wanted to restart the disarmament campaign of his previous government. “We will distribute books,” he added.

During the debate the two candidates often repeated the same concepts and phrases, preferring the memorized technique from a communication strategy to spontaneity. In short, Lula and Bolsonaro greeted voters with a lot of rhetoric, little new information, the same themes already used in other debates such as the environment, and no reference to how their programs could be financed in the future. Probably the mutual insults increased compared to the previous debate, because as a rule of the Globe this time none of the participants could touch each other and thus release the tension. Out of emotion, Bolsonaro made a mistake and in the end asked to be confirmed as a “federal deputy” instead of president, except that he immediately corrected himself.

Keep reading:

Ballotage in Brazil: Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva faced each other in one last debate before Sunday’s elections
The countdown to the ballotage began in Brazil amid new complaints between Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva
How the Amazon will influence the ballotage that faces Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva this Sunday in Brazil

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