BRASILIA – Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro and left-leaning Fernando Haddad drew their campaigns to a close ahead of Sunday’s runoff election, in which Brazilians will choose between two drastically different sets of proposals for their country.
Bolsonaro remained at his home in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, where he encouraged his supporters to make the poll predictions come true, which suggest he will win with around 56 percent of the vote.
“It is exciting to feel Brazilians’ hope. I am sorry that I was not able to be closer to all of you because of my medical condition,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, referring to the knife wound he received during an election rally on Sept. 6.
“Remember that we still haven’t won and that we need to keep up our strength until the end,” the far-right candidate wrote, who has sparked a storm of controversy because of his sexist, racist, homophobic, and even anti-democratic statements.
Bolsonaro also alluded to one of his main campaign proposals of overturning gun control regulations in the midst of a wave of violence that has led to some 60,000 homicides per year in Brazil.
The “material” fruits earned “honestly in a free economy have a name: private property,” and “they cannot be stolen, invaded or expropriated. They must be defended,” he said.
Haddad, who replaced former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the candidate of the Workers Party (PT) last month, did participate in a campaign event and toured the streets of a favela (shantytown) in Sao Paulo, where he was once the mayor.
Haddad urged his supporters to remain “energized and hopeful,” despite the fact that the polls suggest he is around 12 percentage points behind Bolsonaro.
He said “fighting is hard,” though it is “noble” because it is “for a victory of true democracy.”
On Saturday, Haddad received the support of the former president of Brazil’s Supreme Court, Joaquim Barbosa, even though the former justice is a fierce critic of the Workers Party and handled a major corruption trial during Lula’s administration involving prominent PT officials.
“For the first time, 32 years after we regained the right to vote, I am frightened by a candidate, and that is why I will vote for Fernando Haddad,” Barbosa wrote on Twitter.
“Brazil is waking up and we will catch up,” the PT candidate told his supporters, adding that “millions of citizens want to avoid the worst situation: the return of fascism and a dictatorship.”
Some 147 million Brazilians will be able to vote in Sunday’s election to elect one of the two candidates who have polarized the country as never before.
One of those candidates is a reserve army officer who promises to completely liberalize the economy, while the other is a center-left intellectual who embodies the social ideals of Lula – the most popular political leader in the country who is in jail serving a corruption conviction.