Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro burned their last bullets this Saturday in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, before they square off in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.
Leading the polls, the Former President Lula, 76In the morning he invited his supporters to a march on Paulista Avenue, the scene of major demonstrations in Megalopolis.
About five kilometers from there, practically at the same time, Bolsonaro, 67 years oldHe will set off at the head of a motorcycle entourage that will take him to a rally in São Paulo’s green lung, Ibrapuera Park.
The far-right president toured many of the country’s cities on two wheels with his supporters, including Guaranhas, in Pernambuco (northeast), where Lula grew up before moving to Sao Paulo with his family to escape poverty.
But his campaign team expects a loud demonstration on Saturday to give a last push to the former army captain, who, as polls predict, could avoid a first-round defeat against his rival.
Bolsonaro will travel to Santa Catarina in the southeast for a final act that will end a month-and-a-half campaign.
Radio and TV advertisements are prohibited from Thursday, but in-person events and distribution of election materials will be allowed until Saturday night.
The polarized campaign has produced an increase in security measures: candidates continue to wear bulletproof vests and the stages of rallies are surrounded by security barriers to prevent crowds from approaching, four years after Bolsonaro was stabbed in the middle of the street during the campaign. .
– the last “tense” hour –
The release of the latest survey by Brazil’s benchmark Datafolha Institute is also expected on Saturday.
That pollster put Lula ahead of Bolsonaro by a wide margin of 14 points, 48% to 34%, on Thursday.
A former president (2003-2010) must collect at least 50% of valid votes (without zeros or blanks) to be elected to a third term on Sunday.
In Thursday’s poll, Lula emerged with exactly 50% of those votes. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points, creating uncertainty about the likelihood of a ballot scheduled for Oct. 30.
Anticipating a first-round victory, his Labor Party was allowed to celebrate by gathering supporters on Ballista Avenue on Sunday night.
The last hours of the campaign will be “very tense, everyone will be paying attention to the little details that can move the needle to one side or the other,” Jairo Niccolo, a political scientist at the Getlio Vargas Foundation, told AFP.
– Fear after the end –
That tension was evident Thursday in the last televised debate on the nation’s most-watched TV Globo network.
Lula and Bolsonaro have exchanged scathing personal attacks, accusing each other of being liars and corrupt.
The head of state called the former president a traitor. Lula replied: “On October 2, people are going to send you home.”
But with 63 days until the January 1 investiture, a transition of power could be difficult if a leftist candidate wins.
On Friday, Lula told a press conference that he feared Bolsonaro would try to “create some chaos during the transition.”
Last week, the head of state questioned Brazil’s electronic ballot system without evidence, saying it would be “abnormal” if it didn’t get at least 60% of the vote in the first round.
Brazil’s 156 million voters will elect the lower house of Congress, a third of the Senate and governors and legislatures of 27 states on Sunday.
Polling stations open at 8:00 am and close at 5:00 pm local time (11:00 am-8:00 pm GMT), and results are expected the same day.