Lula presents his campaign for the presidency of Brazil as a struggle of democracy against fascism

Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva starts as the main favorite to win the October 2 elections, after he has appeared as the first preference among Brazilians in all the polls that have been published since he recovered his political rights.

After the Supreme Court unanimously annulled his convictions for corruption after finding that the investigating judge of those, Sergio Moro – later Minister of Justice under Jair Bolsonaro – did not act impartially, there has been no poll that has questioned his return to the Planalto Palace.

During his previous term (2003-2010), Lula enjoyed great popularity among the working classes and lower income classes after managing to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but also among the markets and banks themselves, which saw an opportunity in the commodities boom.

That period of abundance and prosperity was clouded from 2011, when the continuous corruption scandals meant his political death for at least 580 days, the time he spent in jail after being accused of having participated in a plot by which dozens of politicians and businessmen profited.

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Aware of Lula’s power of mobilization, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has not ceased to question both the electronic ballot boxes and the Brazilian electoral system, trying to sow doubts about their reliability, since his rival recovered his political rights.

It is these constant attacks on democratic institutions by President Bolsonaro that have served Lula to focus his campaign as a clash between democracy and dictatorship, a rhetoric that has served many sectors and parties traditionally wary to opt for the leader of the Workers’ Party (PT).

His objective during this campaign has been to build a moderate profile, capable of attracting the center electorate and distancing himself from the ghosts of communism that bolsonarismo stirs up, and for this he has added his former rival, Geraldo Alckmin, as a running mate and has enjoyed the support of other historical adversaries such as former presidents Henrique Cardoso and José Sarney.

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Lula starts with a voting intention of over 45 percent, although the most optimistic forecasts even expect him to be able to finish the electoral appointment in the first round. The PT has campaigned appealing to the useful vote among those who still bet on some of the residual options of the so-called third way.

The former Brazilian president has the favor of broad layers of society, such as young people, the unemployed, lower income families, students, women, and even Catholics would vote for him, while evangelicals, a group with a lot of power in Brazil, would opt for the far right represented by Bolsonaro.

Even if Lula ends up winning the elections, the Congress will possibly be the most conservative in Brazil’s recent history, which will be a major challenge for the former union leader, whose promises include increasing social programs and greater environmental controls.

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