Presidential candidate Andrés Janones of the moderate Avante party Thursday stepped down from the race in order to support former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva's bid to succeed the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula and Janones made the announcement during a meeting Thursday in Sao Paulo through a live broadcast shortly before a joint press conference.
We withdrew and unified the presidential candidacy of Congressman André Janones. It will now be represented by the candidacy of President Lula, said Janones, a social media phenomenon with 2 million followers on Instagram and 8 million on Facebook.
With the support of Janones, who had left the ranks of Lula's Workers' Party years ago to found a more moderate political force, Lula might achieve an unsurmountable lead over Bolsonaro that ends up deciding the presidential contest in the Oct. 2 first round.
Lula clearly leads all opinion polls and the question seems to be whether Bolsonaro will be able to reach at least a second round, scheduled for Oct. 30, if needed.
Janones, who is said to have a 2% voting support, said Thursday he could not support Bolsonaro, whom he accused of increasing spending until the end of the year simply to improve his chances of re-election. I cannot support a president who has used the hunger of the people to improve his chances.
Political analysts view Janones' move as one that could boost Lula's chances of returning to the Planalto Palace and other candidates with low numbers might follow in Janones' footsteps in the coming days, including Senator Simone Tebet, who has a 4% voting intention, and former minister Ciro Gomes, who is around 8%.
We have fought for our presidential candidacy, for those who need the most, the workers and the poorest, but now we withdraw that candidacy, we unify it and it is now represented by Lula, said Janones in a video streaming in which Lula stressed that ending hunger was always an obsession and insisted on his promise that all Brazilians would eat three meals a day.
The former head of state underlined that under him Brazil had left the UN hunger map, but unfortunately now hunger is back.
Avante carries very little weight nationwide, but has significant strength in the state of Minas Gerais, the second largest electoral college in the country