Former foes endorse Lula, reinforce bid for “tactical vote”

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received the support of multiple former presidential candidates on Monday — including politicians from both sides of the political spectrum.

After former Environment Minister Marina Silva pledged her support for Lula last week, former Central Bank president Henrique Meirelles and former Senator Cristovam Buarque have joined the increasingly broad front backing the center-left candidate’s presidential bid. Both men served in government during Lula’s time in office but had become his political adversaries in recent years.

Mr. Meirelles ran for president in 2018, garnering just 1.2 percent of the vote. Mr. Buarque served as Lula’s first Education Minister (lasting just over a year in office) and ran against Lula for the presidency in 2006. He received 2.6 percent of the vote.

In his bid to unseat President Jair Bolsonaro, Lula has talked of building a “broad front for democracy.” In an event on Monday, his broad front of him included members of the far-left and a former banker.

Economist Carlos Goes, founder of the pro-market think tank Mercado Popular, reacted to the latest pro-Lula endorsements: “You, a centrist like me, asked for Lula to steer towards the center. I invited [conservative former São Paulo Governor Geraldo] Alckmin to be his running mate. He has Marina [Silva]Cristovam [Buarque]and finally, [Henrique] Meirelles with him. He has built the broad front we wanted. Now, let’s be coherent. It’s Lula.”

A total of eight former presidential candidates have endorsed Lula — an unprecedented array of support in the country’s recent history.

In amassing divergent political views around his ticket, Lula is encouraging tactical voting in the hopes of clinching a victory against Mr. Bolsonaro in the first round of the election.

For Mr. Buarque, it would be “irresponsible” to allow the election to go to a runoff, which would be decided on October 30. “It would be unpredictable four weeks from the point of view of violence on the streets, of fake news for all of us,” he said. “It is democratic, but it is not responsible today for us to go to a runoff.”

The former senator has also rated candidate Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labor Party, the same party for which he ran for president in 2006. Mr. Gomes has said that tactical voting for Lula is “dirty” and that he would be the “truly strategic” candidate to break the Lula-Bolsonaro dichotomy.

Lula’s Workers’ Party will, in the last two weeks of the campaign, intensify an offensive to win over centrist voters and guarantee a clear victory for Lula. Their argument is that Mr. Bolsonaro will question the electoral results if given the opportunity to do so.

Over the weekend, the president said that if he doesn’t win the election in a first-round landslide, “something abnormal has happened in the Superior Electoral Court.”

Datafolha, Brazil’s most renowned pollster, will this week run a new electoral survey — and will ask whether voters could change their candidates in order to decide the election in the first round on October 2.

The survey will also assess the willingness of voters to turn out at polling stations on the day. Although voting is mandatory for Brazilians over 18 and under 70, electoral authorities have created the means for people to skip it. Voters are mandated to justify their absence — and can now do so on their phones.


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