Brazil presidential election: Lula and Bolsonaro clash in debate ahead of run-off vote

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By AP
Brazilian presidential candidates in second round TV debate
Brazilian presidential candidates in second round TV debate   -   Copyright  BANDEIRANTES TV

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro clashed in their first one-on-one election debate on Sunday.

They repeatedly called each other liars and alleged corruption.

"The truth is that you didn't take care about people during the COVID-19 pandemic, you had fun, laughed and you said you'd not have the vaccine," said Lula.

"You said those who did would become alligators and homosexuals and that they should not have the vaccine. 

"You made fun of people and imitated people drowning with no oxygen in Manaus. 

"There isn't in the history of any government in the world someone who played with the pandemic and with death as you did."

The encounter lasted about 90 minutes.

It comes two weeks before the run-off vote to decide who will be Brazil's next president. 

Bolsonaro said: “You used money for corruption. Everything was corrupt in your government, everything. You denied water to the northeast.”

Earlier this month Lula won the election’s first round with 48% of the vote, compared with Bolsonaro’s 43%.

Polls indicate the leftist former president, who governed between 2003-2010, remains the frontrunner, though his lead has shrunk considerably.

Each candidate focused on the issues that, according to polls, represent their adversary’s weak points: for Bolsonaro, the COVID-19 pandemic that killed 680,000 Brazilians, and for Lula, corruption scandals.