Friday, 2 December, 2022

Bolsonaro, Lula battle for Brazil runoff endorsements

Far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and leftist challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva both got key endorsements Tuesday as they geared up for their battle for Brazil's presidential runoff on October 30.

The two rivals are aggressively chasing endorsements for their polarizing final bout, after finishing with a closer-than-expected five-point difference in Sunday's first-round election: 48 percent for ex-president Lula to 43 percent for Bolsonaro.

Both are racing to win over Brazilians who voted for the third- and fourth-place finishers, center-right candidate Simone Tebet (four percent) and center-left candidate Ciro Gomes (three percent).

They will also be campaigning hard to woo those who cast blank or spoiled ballots (three percent and two percent, respectively) or simply didn't vote -- 21 percent of the South American giant's 156 million voters.

Bolsonaro racked up several major endorsements, including from influential corruption buster Sergio Moro, his one-time justice minister, who had quit his administration in protest in 2020.

Lula (2003-2010) meanwhile got an important, if grudging, nod from Gomes.

The center-left firebrand served as a minister in Lula's first administration, but later fell out with him and emerged as one of his fiercest critics.