1664773996 Lula da Silva Were going to win its just overtime

Lula da Silva: “We’re going to win, it’s just overtime”

Former President Lula da Silva with his wife Rosangela this Sunday evening in São Paulo.Former President Lula da Silva with his wife Rosangela this Sunday evening in São Paulo NELSON ALMEIDA (AFP)

There was a victory, but not the one hoped for. The latest polls showed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with 50% of the valid votes, enough not to have to go to the second round, and the Brazilian left had started to fantasize about celebrating big this Sunday. In the end it couldn’t be. The left candidate got just over 48% this Saturday, less than two points from the target. Nevertheless, a laughing and joking Lula hid his disappointment during an appearance at the hotel in downtown São Paulo that was chosen as the campaign headquarters: “We’re going to win, it’s just an extension.”

“It’s already turned around!” Lula has finally taken the lead. There are restrained cheers and fists in the sky from campaign workers. It’s not an explosion of joy, but something is something. In the first three hours of counting, right-wing extremist Jair Bolsonaro had led him by up to four points. The atmosphere in the hotel was not somber, but neither was it as cheerful as one might have thought after the polls closed. Luckily, the slower-to-calculate vote in the Northeast region saved the night.


Around 10 p.m., when almost all the votes had been counted, the politician appeared in front of the media, accompanied by his wife Janja da Silva, vice presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin and former President Dilma Rousseff, among others. The message projected was confidence in winning the second round. Lula even allowed herself a joke. “I had thought about going on a honeymoon, but that will have to wait. Unfortunately for some, I have 30 days left for the campaign. I love walking the streets, getting on the trucks, talking to people…” he explained. In addition, he has recalled that he has not won in the first round of any of the six elections he has contested. The last to do so was Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the late 1990s.

In front of the hotel, the crowd control fences were not needed. A handful of die-hard fans are disappointed by the setback. “Four more weeks will be long. Bolsonaro will have time to dismantle everything,” says Camila Lisboa, a 44-year-old architect who wears a red coat because of the cold. He voted for Lula every time he ran for office, although he admits he didn’t like the Labor Party corruption scandals. “A lot of people stopped voting for her because of that,” he explains. For example, his father was always Lulas until he got fed up and now he’s a staunch Bolsonarist.

The candidate’s campaign had focused in recent weeks on convincing the undecided and calling for a meaningful vote to scrape some support from the center. “Turn the vote around” was the slogan repeated thousands of times in election propaganda. Patience, was the reply from the citizens. To explain the strength of Bolsonaro, who has reached 43% despite the polls giving him 36%, some at Lula’s headquarters pointed to the “embarrassed” voters, the ones who reveal a different preference to the real one when asked about it become pollsters.

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The second round will take place on Sunday, October 30th, within a month. During this time, Lula must win the middle votes. It will be crucial who Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes back, with 7% separating the two. They are candidates who have criticized him for past scandals but agree more with him than with Bolsonaro.

Activist Raimundo Bonfim, coordinator of the Central de Movimientos Populares, walks restlessly between the tables where the canapés are served. Not to say he’s disappointed, but he is. “In the first round there was hope of winning, but I was ready for the second,” he says. Despite his confidence in an outright win for Lula, Bonfim reiterates that the remaining month “isn’t going to be easy.” He feels that the progressive middle class has not been sufficiently involved in the campaign and that explains the result. “Now they really can’t stay on the couch,” he says. “There is a risk that Bolsonaro will win.”

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