The campaign for the Brazilian presidency has ended. A TV debate on Friday night saw President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva brush aside attacks by his conservative rival Geraldo Alckmin. The former Sao Paulo state governor shone only briefly, in attacks on Lula’s economic record.
Lula had to dodge accusations over a series of corruption scandals involving his Workers’ Party. He praised his record in office: “It seems to me that the governor wasn’t in Brazil in 2003 because, if he had been, he could begin this debate by thanking me. Thanking me for having – along with the Brazilian people – saved this country.”
The three latest opinion polls show Lula has a lead of more than 20 points over Alckmin. He fell short of an outright victory in the first round as voters reacted to a smear campaign his team tried to orchestrate against Alckmin and other opposition politicians. Lula – in the last few days – has played heavily on national unity paving the way for consensus-building with parties after Sunday’s vote.