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Lula and Bolsonaro face each other this Sunday for the presidency of Brazil

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro mobilized thousands of supporters in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, before testing their strength this Sunday in the electrifying first round of the presidential elections.

While both candidates burned their last cartridges, the Datafolha Institute published its latest poll: Lula maintains 48% of the support, while Bolsonaro appears with 34%, the same result as the previous poll.

If only valid votes are considered (without blanks or null votes), the former leftist president obtains 50%, a percentage that would allow him to win without the need for a second round, and Bolsonaro, who is seeking re-election, 36%.

Lula, 76, expressed his confidence on Saturday that the election will be resolved this Sunday and promised that his eventual victory will serve to “recover the right of this town to be happy”.

The former trade unionist led in the morning a “victory march” when crossing an artery close to the emblematic Paulista Avenue, scene of the great demonstrations in the megalopolis.

He was accompanied by thousands of people who waved the colorful flags of union centrals, LGBTI groups, black groups and feminists, but mainly the red ones of his Workers’ Party.

From early on, his followers set his arrival with cheers of “Brazil, urgent, Lula president!” Y “Jay, time to go!”hoping that the leftist will win the presidency in the first round.

“I hope that (that) happens”said Ully Kotler, a 29-year-old teacher. “The summary of the Bolsonaro government? a complete tragedy”.

About five kilometers from there, Bolsonaro, 67, wearing a black jacket and without a helmet, led a motorcycle caravan to Ibirapuera Park, the green lung of Sao Paulo, where thousands of supporters were waiting for him. Along the way, they wore yellow and green shirts and waved Brazilian flags, clapped, whistled and asked for selfies with the president.

“Lula thief, your place is prison!”shouted the Bolsonaristas while the president carried a bag with a photo of his rival behind bars.

The far-right constantly calls Lula “thief” Y “ex-convict” recalling his conviction for corruption, which was later overturned by the supreme court.

The far-right president has toured several cities in the country on two wheels with his followers and on Sunday he held a final parade in Joinville, in the state of Santa Catarina (southeast), where the crowd greeted him shouting his nickname, “Myth”.

Bolsonaro also received this Saturday the support of representatives of the world far right, especially the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who considered him a “exceptional leader”.

“I am afraid of entering the South American left and ending up like Argentina, Chile or Venezuela” Y “everything is spoiled”said Rodrigo Colombine, a 47-year-old merchant who accompanied the caravan in Sao Paulo in his car. “I like Bolsonaro, but more than anything I am Antilula”.

The electoral race had an increase in security this year, four years after Bolsonaro was stabbed in the middle of the street before the 2018 elections.

The last hours of the campaign “they will be very tense, everyone will observe the smallest details that could move the needle to one side or the other”Jairo Nicolau, a political scientist at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, tells AFP.

Last week, the head of state, who has repeatedly questioned the electronic ballot box system in Brazil without evidence and assured that he will only recognize the results if the elections are “clean”stated that it would be “abnormal” that it did not obtain at least 60% of the votes in the first round.

The transfer of power could prove difficult in the event of a victory on Sunday for the leftist candidate, with three months until the investiture, on January 1.

Lula claimed to fear that Bolsonaro would try “create some commotion during the transition”.

“Let us all vote in peace, security and harmony”the president of electoral justice, Alexandre de Moraes, wrote in a tweet.

Brazil’s 156 million voters will also elect the lower house of congress, a third of the senate, and the governors and legislative assemblies of the 27 states on Sunday.

Polling stations open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. local time (11:00-20:00 GMT). The results are expected a few hours later.

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