Reuters/AFP Brasilia/Sao Paulo
Brazil’s left-wing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva retains a solid lead in today’s presidential race against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and is in sight for an outright victory, a new poll has revealed. yesterday.
Brazil’s most polarized election in decades will decide whether a former president who spent time in prison for corruption or a right-wing populist who attacked the electoral system and threatened to contest defeat will return to power.
A CNT/MDA poll published yesterday indicated that Lula would obtain 48.3% of the valid votes, putting him statistically within reach of collecting half of the votes, which would avoid a deadly second round.
The poll has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.
If none of the 11 candidates obtains more than 50% of the votes, excluding blank and invalid ballots, the two heads of the list – almost certainly Lula and Bolsonaro – would go to the second round on October 30.
The MDA poll commissioned by national transport lobby CNT shows Bolsonaro cut half of Lula’s lead, which has now fallen to 7.9 percentage points (44.2% for Lula and 36.3% for Bolsonaro). ).
Two other top pollsters, Datafolha and IPEC, predicted Lula would win.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who spent 28 years as a congressman, was propelled to power in 2018 by a wave of conservative sentiment and opposition to Lula’s Workers’ Party.
Yesterday, he closed his re-election campaign with two motorbike rallies in Sao Paulo and Joinville, in the state of Santa Catarina.
Lula’s Workers’ Party, meanwhile, set aside space on Sao Paulo’s main Paulista Avenue on Sunday night to celebrate the victory of the 77-year-old former union leader and party founder.
Yesterday’s final campaign rallies saw supporters a few miles apart.
Bolsonaro led one of his trademark motorcycle rallies from northern Sao Paulo to the city’s Ibirapuera Park, smiling and waving at the head of a battalion of bikers clad in black leather and the yellow and green flag.
About 5km away, Lula staged his own rally on the economic capital’s main thoroughfare, Avenida Paulista, gathering a sea of red-clad supporters waving banners.
Brazil’s electronic voting system, which Bolsonaro has repeatedly criticized as vulnerable to fraud without providing evidence, allows the national electoral authority, the TSE, to quickly tally the results hours after polls close. vote at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT).
TSE leader Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes called on Brazilians via Twitter to celebrate the country’s democracy by going to the polls “in peace, security and harmony, respect and freedom”. .
Due to Bolsonaro’s attacks on the electoral system and the prospect of conflict, the TSE has invited an unprecedented number of international observers to this year’s elections.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly signaled that he could contest an electoral defeat, saying “only God” can remove him from office and alleging, without evidence, rampant fraud in Brazil’s electronic voting system.
Bolsonaro greets supporters during a motorcade on the eve of the presidential election in Sao Paulo.