Sparks flew Sunday as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro accused leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of big corruption — and drew accusations of “destroying Brazil” in go back — as they confronted off of their first election debate.

The 2 front-runners, who waited till the closing minute to substantiate they might attend the primary televised debate forward of October’s elections, wasted no time in attacking each and every different.

Bolsonaro referred to as Lula a “thief” in his opening salvo of the three-hour conflict, pummeling the 76-year-old ex-president over the huge “Automotive Wash” corruption scandal focused on state-run oil massive Petrobras.

The investigation landed Lula in jail from 2018 to 2019 on debatable corruption fees — annulled through the Splendid Court docket closing 12 months.

“Your executive was once probably the most corrupt in Brazilian historical past,” mentioned Bolsonaro, 67, damn off figures from the scandal in a rapid-fire assault.

“It was once a kleptocracy, a central authority in line with theft… What do you wish to have to return again to energy for? To do the similar factor to Petrobras once more?”

Lula fired again that Bolsonaro was once spreading “untruths” — certainly one of a number of exchanges through which they accused each and every different of mendacity. He in flip accused the incumbent of trashing his legacy of monetary enlargement and anti-poverty projects.

“This nation has been destroyed,” Lula mentioned in his trademark gravelly voice, attacking Bolsonaro over greater poverty and starvation, hovering costs and a surge within the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

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Dressing the phase in darkish fits and ties — striped blue for Bolsonaro, burgundy crimson for Lula — the front-runners had a lot of fiery exchanges, however hewed to the principles and stored their demeanor quite civilized.

With out a target audience within the studio, the stress surrounding the controversy was once particularly palpable within the subsequent room, the place newshounds and politicians adopted the controversy on a display screen.

Professional-Lula lawmaker Andre Janones and Bolsonaro’s former surroundings minister Ricardo Salles were given into a noisy shouting fit and got here just about hitting each and every different earlier than they had been pulled away.

In all, six of the 12 presidential applicants at the poll had been at the neon-blue-lit degree in TV community Band’s Sao Paulo studios.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro referred to as his greatest rival for the presidency, fashionable leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a ‘thief’ all the way through Sunday’s debate


However all eyes within the deeply polarized Latin American nation of 213 million folks had been on front-runner Lula, the preferred however tarnished ex-metal employee who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, and his nemesis, Bolsonaro — the chief nicknamed the “Tropical Trump” — who’s vying for a come-from-behind win.

Neither gave the impression to rating a knockout punch, and each drew grievance over their performances.

Bolsonaro sparked outrage with a hallmark rant through which he attacked journalist Vera Magalhaes, one of the most moderators, for pronouncing he had unfold disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

“Vera, you take into accounts me to your sleep, you will have to have a weigh down on me or one thing,” the incumbent reacted irately.

“You’ll’t participate in a debate like this and unfold lies and accusations about me. You are a humiliation to Brazilian journalism.”

The president, who has been suffering to win over ladies citizens, drew accusations of misogyny on social networks after the episode.

Lula delivered an underwhelming efficiency, taking a look much less fiery because the three-hour debate wore on.

“Lula appeared very timid and made errors on sure issues, falling into some traps,” mentioned political analyst Andre Cesar of consulting company Grasp.

He gave Bolsonaro the brink within the debate for hitting on his favourite subject matters, “country, circle of relatives and freedom.”

“Bolsonaro was once looser, letting out his words, giggling,” Cesar mentioned. “In that sense, Bolsonaro gained.”

However he added that the incumbent’s assault at the moderator “confirmed that that is who Bolsonaro is — and that may harm him anyway.”

Lula leads Bolsonaro through 47 % to 32 %, in line with the most recent ballot from the Datafolha institute.

If no candidate wins greater than 50 % of legitimate votes within the first spherical on October 2, the election will pass to a run-off on October 30.