By Satyaki Chakraborty
Brazil’s Presidential frontrunner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula is set to win in the crucial elections on October 30. Just seventy-two hours before the elections, the opinion polls give Lula a handsome margin of six to seven percent as against the incumbent far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
The latest opinion polls have indicated that Lula will be getting slightly more than 50 per cent as against his rival’s 43 percent. As per the Brazilian constitution, in the runoff, the candidate with the highest votes, will be the winner. Even the rightwing media is reconciled that Lula is winning. The speculation in political circles is whether Bolsonaro will accept the verdict. Bolsonaro is a rabid Trump supporter and he has repeatedly said that the election machinery is faulty and he will not recognize the faulty results.
Lula is confident now and he has asked his supporters to remain calm in the next few days before the polls. Lula said during a news conference in Sao Paulo on Monday that if he were to win the tightly fought contest, he hoped Bolsonaro “will have a moment of sanity and phone me to accept the election result”.
“If Bolsonaro loses and he wants to cry … I lost three elections,” said Lula, who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. “Each time I lost, I went home. I didn’t keep cursing, being agitated.”Legal experts have already termed the far right President’s apprehensions and allegations as baseless. The foreign observers have also found that the election commission is impartial and the voting arrangements have been made as per rules.
In the first round on October 2, Lula failed to get 50 per cent of the votes polled to meet the constitutional requirement for straight victory but he was ahead of Bolsonaro by 5 percent. Now in the run off on October 30, the battle is limited to Lula and Bolsonaro and all efforts will be focused on bringing the major share of the 8.4 per cent votes which were received by the other candidates in the first round. Some of these votes belong to the far-right groups, so the Left workers of the PT have worked harder in the last days to add another 1.6 per cent from these voters apart from retaining its 48.4 per cent.
Bolsonaro had questioned polls that showed him losing to Lula in the first round, saying they did not capture enthusiasm he saw on the campaign trail. The former army captain had also attacked the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system without evidence and suggested he might not concede if he lost. But the voting figures showed that the polling was fair, and this was confirmed by many international observers who were present during the polling in the first round.
But still, Bolsonaro supporters are saying that they would not accept defeat and during the remaining days before run off, they are expected to campaign that a Lula victory will lead to bloodbath creating apprehensions among the peace-loving middle-class Brazilians who voted for Lula.
Maria Lourdes de Noronha, 63 a supporter of Bolsonaro, said only fraud could prevent a Bolsonaro victory, adding that “we will not accept it” if he loses. “The polls in our country, the media, and journalists, are liars, rascals, shameless,” she said.
Lula, who is seeking a comeback after leading Brazil from 2003 to 2010, said he was running for president “to get the country back to normal” after four years under Bolsonaro.“We don’t want more hate, more discord. We want a country at peace,” the 76-year-old said. “This country needs to recover the right to be happy.”Decked out in Lula stickers, Adriana Schneider was voting at a primary school in Rio de Janeiro. The university professor, 48, said Bolsonaro’s administration had been “catastrophic” for investment in culture, arts, science and education. “We’re living under a barbaric government,” she said.
The former army captain in recent months has repeatedly taken aim at leading Supreme Court justices and alleged – without providing any evidence – that Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to widespread fraud.
Legal experts have rejected that allegation, while the president’s critics have accused him of sowing doubt in the run-up to the election in order to dispute the results, as was done by former US President Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has emulated.
The Brazilian president is a big admirer of Trump. He supported what Trump did on January 6, 2021in Capitol Hill to undo the 2020 elections verdict by the American people. Even now, Trump is telling that the 2020 verdict was stolen by the Democrats. What Trump said after the elections results were out, Bolsonaro is repeating the same as the campaign in polarized Brazil is heating up leading to the D Day.
The far-right leader, who rode into office in 2019 on a wave of populist anger after Lula was jailed and his successor was impeached as part of a corruption investigation, has said he views just three possibilities for his future: “prison, being killed or victory.”If needed, Bolsonaro said, he and his supporters would go to war. Bolsonaro is a former army officer, and he favours military dictatorships. So, the political observers in Brazil are worried at the future of Brazil after the elections.
The incumbent President’s popularity has dipped substantially following the Senate committee approving a 1,300-page report calling for President Jair Bolsonaro’s indictment for nine crimes relating to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — including crimes against humanity — but it is unlikely he will face formal charges. But the allegations have isolated him from many other conservative groups who are committed against the leftwing policies of the Workers Party leader and the left coalition candidate Lula.
Bolsonaro, a pro-gun nationalist, has faced growing public discontent about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and push to encourage mining in the Amazon, while high inflation and soaring fuel prices are continuing unchecked. Earlier in May, a group of 80 jurists and legal researchers appealed to the United Nations Special Rapporteur to visit Brazil and report on the government’s attacks on the Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Court that oversees elections.
Lula has sought to widen his political coalition ahead of the October polls, naming centrist Geraldo Alckmin as his running mate. The first-round results showed the consolidation of right-wing votes in favour of Bolsonaro. He will make efforts to bring in other far right voters in his favour on polling day on October 30. But the Lula camp has been successful in getting the support of the third candidate of the first round who got 4.3 percent votes. The opinion polls indicate that a substantial number of the third candidate’s supporters have switched over to Lula’s side before the October 30 polls. That gives Lula the confidence of convincingly defeating Bolsonaro in the runoff. (IPA Service)