Bolsonaro, Lula trade blows in fiery presidential debate ahead of Brazil election
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the two front-runners in Brazil’s upcoming elections, confronted each other in public for the first time in a televised debate Sunday night five weeks before the vote.
Both men didn’t waste time to attack each other, with Bolsonaro calling Lula’s government “the most corrupt in history” and his rival accusing the president of “destroying Brazil” in the debate organized by Band TV network. Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet, two candidates trailing the front-runners, also attacked Bolsonaro.
The face-to-face debate between Bolsonaro and Lula, who present radically different proposals for Latin America’s largest economy, is one of the milestones of the election as campaigns kick into high gear ahead of the vote.
While Lula leads all major polls ahead of the Oct. 2 first-round vote, his margin over Bolsonaro has been shrinking as the government unleashes stimulus measures including cash stipends for the poor and tax cuts on goods from gasoline to utilities. Inflation, one of the main priorities of voters, is also turning the corner, with consumer prices registering in July its biggest monthly drop since 1980 after peaking at more than 12%.