Brazil’s third-place finisher supports Lula in the runoff

Brazil’s third-place finisher supports Lula in the runoff


The candidate, who finished third in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, on Wednesday endorsed leftist veteran Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for his runoff against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

Center-right Senator Simone Tebet won 4.2 percent of the vote on Sunday — the first election of nearly five million Brazilians whose votes were defeated by Lula (48.4 percent) and Bolsonaro (43.2 percent) both in the March 30 runoff October want.

Tebet, an anti-abortion Catholic whose support may be key to influencing social conservative and female voters, criticized both ex-President Lula (2003-2010) and Bolsonaro at a press conference in Sao Paulo.

But she said there was no doubt which was worse.

“For the last four years, Brazil has been consumed by a bonfire of hate and strife,” she said, attacking Bolsonaro for his Covid-19 “denial”, his gun policy and the 30 million starving Brazilians.

“I maintain my criticism of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva … but I will vote for him because I recognize his commitment to democracy and the constitution, which I have never seen in the current President.”

The support came after her party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), whose leadership was split between pro-Bolsonaro and pro-Lula camps, said members could support whichever man they wanted.

Lula was also supported by his predecessor as President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002), the centre-right politician who defeated him in the 1994 and 1998 elections.

Cardoso wrote on Twitter that he would vote for Lula’s “story of the struggle for democracy and social inclusion.”

He has posted two pictures of himself and his follower over the years, one in black and white from 1980 and a more recent one in colour.

“Thank you for your vote and your trust,” Lula replied.

Lula also received an acceptance, albeit reluctantly, on Tuesday from center-left rival Ciro Gomes, Sunday’s fourth-place candidate (3 percent).

Bolsonaro, whose far-right movement made big gains in the congressional and gubernatorial elections on Sunday, has since garnered support from the governors of Brazil’s three largest states – Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro – as well as influential ex-corruption fighter-judge Sergio Moro .

He added the support of the governors of Brasilia, Parana and Goias to the list on Wednesday.

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