The legendary charisma of Lula may be lacking. But Dilma Rousseff, his ruling party’s candidate, sailed through the last TV debate as Brazil’s presidential election campaign drew to a close.
Opponents including her closest rival Jose Serra of the opposition Social Democrats threw few real challenges at the frontrunner, say analysts.
President Lula’s former chief of staff, Rousseff was no doubt bolstered by another poll indicating she has just enough support to win in the first round.
Lula himself is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term. But, for many Brazilian voters, Sunday’s election is more about the president they are losing than the one they will gain.
In eight years, Lula’s left-wing Workers’ Party government has presided over an historic mass exodus from poverty and the rise of a free-spending middle class.