Brazil's two contenders for Sunday's runoff, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and former head of state Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, Friday engaged in a bitter and tense TV debate closing their campaigns.
The two leaders held a tense tete-a-tete encounter during which both of them dug into their opponent's past for each other's alleged failures, with a particular focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion, and their arms policies.
Lula, of the Workers' Party (PT), won the first round with 48.4 % of the votes against Bolsonaro's 43.2 % on Oct. 2.
The leftwing candidate pointed out the impoverishment of the population over the last four years under Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party (PL), who was also criticized for his management of the sanitary crisis. Some 690,000 Brazilians died of COVID-19.
Someday you will have to pay for the nearly 300,000 people who died because of the delay in the immunization process against covid in Brazil, Lula said while recalling Bolsonaro had delayed the decision to purchase and belittled the seriousness of the disease.
Bolsonaro replied that if he [Lula] had managed to get vaccinated it was because he bought vaccines, for which he should be thankful.
Regarding the arrest of former Congressman Roberto Jefferson, a Bolsonaro ally who threw grenades and fired with a rifle at the police officers, Lula questioned Bolsonaro's guns-for-all ideas. Bolsonaro replied that Lula had staged a rally at a Rio de Janeiro favela with the permission of drug trafficking, to which Lula replied that he was the only head of state with the morals to enter a favela to meet with the extraordinary people who live there.
Lula insisted that Brazil's best times were probably during his two consecutive terms in office (2003-2011). There was no hatred. The culture was working, education was working, the salary was increasing.... we can rebuild this country, he argued.
Bolsonaro then upheld his conservative God-fearing values.