Brazil remains tense ahead of the Oct. 2 vote, as polls show the former left-wing leader ahead of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has widened his lead over incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, less than a week before one of the the most divisive presidential elections in the history of Brazil.
A Genial/Quaest poll released on Wednesday showed Lulawho served as president from 2003 to 2010, with a 13 percentage point lead over his far-right rival.
Recent polls indicate the former left-wing leader could beat Bolsonaro in the first round of voting on Sunday.
The survey put support for Lula at 46% in the first round, compared to 33% for Bolsonaro – compared to 44% for Lula and 34% for Bolsonaro a week earlier.
In a potential second-round run on October 30, Lula’s lead has grown to a 14-point advantage, up from 10 points a week ago, according to the poll.
Brazil remains tense ahead of the upcoming vote, as pundits have raised concerns about election-related violence if Bolsonaro refuses to accept defeat.
In recent months, the former army captain has repeatedly targeted Supreme Court justices and alleged – without providing any evidence – that Brazil electronic voting system is vulnerable to widespread fraud.
Legal experts have dismissed this allegationas the president’s critics have accused him of sowing doubt ahead of the election in order to challenge the results, as the former US president did donald trumpthat Bolsonaro emulated.
Guilherme Casaroes, a political scientist and professor at Fundacao Getulo Vargas in Sao Paulo, said Bolsonaro continued to question the electoral system, as well as recent polls ahead of Sunday’s contest.
“He made it clear, repeatedly, that he didn’t trust Brazil’s electronic voting machines. He continues to cast suspicion on the electoral tribunal. He totally ignores polls and poll numbers. Such difficult times ahead, I would say,” Casaroes told Al Jazeera.
“Bolsonaro is not willing to accept [the results] and most of his supporters have already said they will not accept the election results if Lula wins.
Wednesday’s Genial/Quaest poll found negative views of Bolsonaro’s government rose slightly to 42% from 39% last week, while the percentage who view the government in a positive light remained stable at 31. %.
The incumbent has been criticized for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and escalation of violence against the indigenous peoples of Brazil.
Meanwhile, fear election-related violence persist after Brazilian police said earlier this week that a 39-year-old Lula supporter was stabbed to death in a bar after he apparently informed another patron of his voting intentions.
The O Povo newspaper reported that witnesses told police that a man walked into a bar in the town of Cascavel on Saturday and asked who was voting for Lula. A man said, “I will,” then was stabbed. He died in hospital the same day.
Human Rights Watch said it regretted “one more assassination with apparent political motivation” during Brazil’s election campaign. “Candidates should vehemently condemn any act of violence and promote peaceful elections,” the group said on Twitter.
Brazilian media have reported that police in the state of Santa Catarina, a Bolsonaro stronghold, are investigating a second murder that may be linked to politics. On Saturday, a 34-year-old man died after being stabbed in Rio do Sul, a city of 72,000 people.
Bolsonaro supporters have claimed on social media that Hildor Henker was killed in a bar fight after expressing his support for the far-right leader.
Earlier in the campaign, a Bolsonaro supporter killed a local Lula Workers’ Party in the city of Foz de Iguacu and there were less serious clashes between supporters of the two candidates.
Fundacao’s Casaroes Getulo Vargas said on Wednesday that if opinion polls are confirmed and Lula wins the presidency, he will have “a big challenge, which is to heal the country’s wounds”.
“Brazil is polarized and radicalized like never before, and because of that, if Lula tries to lean too far to the left, it’s going to cause even greater polarization in the country – and that’s certainly not what Lula wants. .”