Lula, Bolsonaro dig into each other’s past in final poll debate

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 28 (EFE).- Far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Friday dug into each other’s past failures in a final debate two days before Brazil’s run-off polls.

The debate, laced with harsh tones, focused more on the alleged failures of their respective governments than on future proposals.

The tension at the studio of TV Globo, Brazil’s biggest network, was unmistakable as soon as the debate began.

Bolsonaro invited Lula to stay by his side. But the ex-president snubbed him, saying he didn’t want to be near him.

The argumentative combat showed that the two were more prepared than in their previous face-offs.

Their answers were more calculated than what they had done previously.

Bolsonaro repeatedly accused Lula of lying during the electoral campaign and reproached him for the corruption scandals that tarnished his government (2003-2010).

The two called each other liars with the word “lie” being the prime mover of the debate during which they also spoke about viagra.

Lula questioned the purchase in large quantities of the drug used to treat erectile dysfunction by the Brazilian Armed Forces during the government of the far-right president.

The former president blamed Bolsonaro for the impoverishment of the people in the last four years and the questionable management of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused 690,000 deaths in Brazil.

“One day you will have to pay for the nearly 300,000 people who died due to the delay in the immunization process against Covid-19 in Brazil,” Lula thundered.

Pulling irony, Bolsonaro snapped back, saying if Lula managed to get vaccinated it was because he bought vaccines for which he should be thankful to him.

The most heated moment of the debate probably revolved around the arrest of former deputy Roberto Jefferson, a Bolsonaro aide, who threw grenades and fired dozens of rifle shots at the police trying to arrest him.

Lula questioned the policy of freeing arms sales promoted by the far-right leader, saying that organized crime had benefited from it.

Bolsonaro used the security issue to suggest that Lula visited a favela in Rio de Janeiro to hold a rally “with the permission of drug traffickers,” an oft-repeated allegation.

Lula picked up the glove and pretended to be “the only head of state with the morals to enter a favela,” to meet the “extraordinary people” who live in poor areas.

Lula asked for the vote to “restore harmony” in the country, saying that Brazil might have experienced its best moment during his administration.

“There was no hatred. The culture worked, the education worked, the salary increased… we can rebuild this country,” Lula said.

Bolsonaro defended the most conservative values, stating that his opponents support the liberation of drugs and the legalization of abortion, which Lula himself denied during the debate.

The president concluded by repeating his campaign slogan, “Brazil above all, God above all.”

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