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Supporters of left-wing Brazilian politician and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or simply “Lula,” suffered a rude awakening recently when, rather than easily winning his country’s presidential race, he now must face the incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff on Oct. 30.

As Sky News explained, more than 30 percent of Brazilians are evangelical Christians who vote for Bolsonaro, giving him a solid base that evidently turned out in force to try and prevent Lula, who as president had pursued left-wing social welfare policies, from securing power again.

Lula’s comeback has been a historic development in Brazilian political history, recounted the Independent. A 76-year-old former metal worker, he was wildly popular in office from 2003 to 2010. His former chief of staff who followed him as president, Dilma Rousseff, won two elections but was impeached in 2016 for breaking budget law. Then, in 2018, a court convicted Lula on corruption charges and jailed him for more than a year – until the country’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Critics said the prosecutions were politically motivated.

This year he came within two percentage points of 50 percent of the vote, however, in a race where cordiality was cast aside, the BBC noted. During the campaign, Bolsonaro referred to Lula as a “thief,” referring to his criminal conviction. Lula called Bolsonaro a “madman,” referring to his denial of the seriousness of the coronavirus and his vaccine skepticism, his policies that opened the ecologically vital Amazon to more development and other policies, as Coda detailed.

Many observers thought Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018 was a fluke. But the former military officer who proudly served in Brazil’s military junta had a strong showing that illustrated how voters embraced his message that the Washington Post described as “profane, homophobic, given to conspiracy theories.” He won 43 percent of the vote this time.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party won unexpected victories in Congressional seats throughout the country, making it the largest party in both houses of the legislature. The Liberal Party won 14 Senate seats, for example, while Lula’s Workers Party won only eight seats.

Bolsonaro has pledged to continue his pro-business, open-market policies while pressing on with privatizations that reduce the size of the state, the Atlantic Council wrote. Lula has vowed to use the state to reduce hunger and poverty.

Campaigning in the weeks before the runoff vote is expected to be intense, Reuters added.

The world will see what happens when titans clash and only one can remain standing.

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