Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters during a campaign stop in Rio de Janeiro Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro greets supporters during a campaign stop in Rio de Janeiro 

Campaigning heats up as Brazil's presidential election nears

With Brazil’s presidential election less than a month away, campaigning in South America’s largest country is heating up with President Jair Bolsonaro hoping to fend off a challenge by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

By James Blears

Brazil’s presidential election is set for 2 October. President Jair Bolsonaro, who started his campaign on 24 July, is trailing former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the polls, and is determined to regain lost ground with the voters. Bicentennial Day, which just occurred, did not stop Bolsonaro from holding campaign rallies in the Capital Brasilia, where he attended a military parade before moving on to Rio de Janeiro, where he gave a speech on Copacabana Beach.

President Bolsonaro, who is a former Army Captain and a former legislator, told the crowds, “We know we are facing a battle of good vs evil. The people are on our side...the side of good.” Bolsanaro is also accusing “Lula” of being a gangster, and questioning Brazil's electronic voting system which has been in place since 1996.

Lula who was president between 2003 and 2010, has responded by insisting that he never used Independence Day as a tool to extract political advantage and that he stands by his record. 

More than one hundred and fifty million people are eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election for the leadership of the largest country, population, and economy in Latin America. It is a battle between the right of Bolsonaro and the left of Lula, with everything to gain and a lot to lose, so the rhetoric is becoming piquant, personal, and acidic.  With so little time remaining in the run-up to election day, winning is the paramount aim.

Listen to James Blears' report

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08 September 2022, 17:15