Lula claims Bolsonaro “buying” people with cash handouts
Former two-time Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro was “buying the people” with cash handouts which were approved barely three months ahead of the Oct. 2 elections and also with a proposed amendment to the Constitution to extend social welfare programs.
What Bolsonaro knows is that his problem is not the electronic ballot boxes, Lula said in reference to the president’s attacks on this voting system, about which he has been sowing doubts regarding its reliability, Lula argued. His problem is the Brazilian people, that is why he sent several measures [to Congress] to give money, increased emergency aid… , he added.
All good, I think the people should take that money, but that is not what solves the problem because all that will end in December. In reality, his proposal is an electoral project. He thinks he can buy the people,” fired Lula during a radio interview.
Brazil’s Senate Thursday approved a controversial amendment to the Constitution allocating cash aid to vulnerable sectors. The opposition voted in favor of the motion but questioned Bolsonaro’s timing: one month into the campaign and three months ahead of the presidential elections, where he trails Lula in all polls.
The amendment raises the Auxilio Brasil program by 50%, offers a gas bonus equivalent to a thirteen-kilogram cylinder every two months, and creates an aid of R$ 1,000 (US$ 187.5) for transporters, which will have an impact of R$ 41.2 billion (US$ 7.73 billion) until December when his tenure ends.
Lula, 76, also hinted he would not seek re-election in case returns to the Alvorada Palace. The Workers’ Party (PT) leader, who ruled Brazil between 2003 and 2010, insisted he hoped he would hand over the presidency to someone else in 2026. I dream every day, that comes December 31, 2026, we are going to hand over the mandate to someone else, and that by then the country will be fine.
In four years, we will have young people contesting elections. It will be young people running for the presidency. What I want is to leave the country prepared, I want to fight hunger, misery, and poverty. I want to generate employment, reduce inflation and increase salaries, he added.
The last Datafolha poll showed Lula had 47% of the voting intentions, against Bolsonaro’s 28%.
Lula also insisted the Armed Forces needed to stay away from the voting process. Bolsonarist Vice-Presidential hopeful General Walter Souza Braga Netto had warned that there would be no elections if the military is prevented from auditing the electronic ballot boxes.
The Armed Forces do not have to worry with electronic ballot boxes, that is a responsibility of the Electoral Justice and civil society, those who are talking about that are some military men linked to Bolsonaro, Lula said Friday.
He added that Bolsonaro wants to create a case, wants to raise suspicions [about ballot boxes] just like [Donald] Trump continues to raise suspicions to this day about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the United States.