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Simone Tebet, third-place in Brazil’s election, endorses Lula

Senator Simone Tebet of Mato Grosso do Sul, who finished a distant third in the presidential election on Sunday (4.16 percent of the vote), endorsed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a Wednesday statement.

A center-right senator from the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) party, Ms. Tebet’s presidential bid was dead on arrival, but she outperformed the more experienced Ciro Gomes and got over 4.9 million votes. That would cover about 80 percent of the 6.1 million-vote gap between Lula and President Jair Bolsonaro.

“In the last four years, Brazil has been abandoned to a bonfire of hatred and disagreements,” Ms. Tebet said in a speech. “Denialism delayed the [Covid] vaccine. Guns replaced books. Iniquity bent hope. Lies have hurt the truth.”

Because of this, she said, she endorses Lula despite remaining critical of the former president. “I recognize his commitment to democracy and the Constitution, which I do not see in the current president,” she added.

Ms. Tebet also emphasized one of her campaign’s proposals of providing a BRL 5,000 (USD 966) cash stipend to students who finish high school.

The MDB’s national committee pledged earlier to remain neutral in the runoff election, allowing its members to support either candidate or neither of them.

On Tuesday, the Democratic Labor Party (PDT) also pledged support to Lula. Presidential candidate Ciro Gomes, who finished fourth with about 3.5 million votes (3.04 percent), recorded a video claiming to follow his party’s decision, but without mentioning Lula by name.

Senator Soraya Thronicke, who finished fifth with 0.5 percent of the vote, said she would not support either Lula or Mr. Bolsonaro.

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