This election that Brazilians can't wait to put behind them

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This election that Brazilians can't wait to put behind them

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro face off in the second round, which promises to be unpredictable.

SAO PAULO – Many Brazilians vote today with a certain anguish in their stomachs. That of not knowing who their president will be or how the opposing camp will react. Anxiety like the last weeks of the campaign, which took place against a backdrop of disputes, accusations and violence.

I am going to cancel my vote, launched Flavio, a visibly suspicious taxi driver when questioned about his voting intentions. However, it is a friend of the interpreter who also took place in the car.

Above all, his answer hid an anxiety: that of triggering a virulent electoral dispute.

Like many of his compatriots, Flavio used a neutral response in a country where voting is an obligation. After a few exchanges, he ended up revealing his choice: he will vote for Lula, the left-wing candidate.

This driver isn't the only one walking on eggshells these days; many Brazilians have sought to avoid any political discussion in recent weeks. Too polarizing, too risky.

Disputes between supporters who displayed their colors broke out in restaurants. Some have come to fists. At least three people have died in electoral disputes.

A polarization that sometimes also affects families. On applications such as WhatsApp, widely used by Brazilians to communicate with their relatives and colleagues, the subject quickly became taboo.

Tensions have also spilled over into the workplace. Many Brazilians say they were victims of electoral harassment, that is, they suffered political pressure from their employers.

With this election, the Brazil faces a clear choice: current president, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who leans left.

Lula Da Silva (left) and Jair Bolsonaro face off during a presidential debate.

< p class="e-p">The two offer very different paths for the most populous country in Latin America. Both have flaws that strongly displease those on the other side. Two camps that have often sought to avoid each other. Avoid sparks.

Sign of tension, on the eve of the vote, an elected Bolsonarist pointed a gun at a man from Sao Paulo who allegedly taunted her about a eventual defeat.

Marcelo and Paula also tasted the fruit of this division. The couple put up a large poster of Lula on the outside wall of their home and stuck stickers behind their car. One night, vandals threw eggs at the house. Pieces of cement also smashed the rear window of their small red vehicle, in the colors of Lula's party.

Marcelo and Paula, open supporters of Lula, say they experience a mixture of fear and determination.

Marcelo fears a return of the vandals. He plans to install surveillance cameras. But in the name of freedom of expression, there is no question of removing the poster for the moment.

The couple say they live in a mixture of fear and determination, fearing that it does not take years to decontaminate minds impregnated with Bolsonarist ideas.

In such an atmosphere, no wonder the candidates delivered their speeches wearing bulletproof vests.

At rallies, their supporters make noise, shout. The music is loud, but their enthusiasm masks fears.

In Lula's camp, it is first and foremost the fear of defeat. A defeat that would spoil a noticeable political comeback for the ex-president, imprisoned because of a court conviction now overturned.

I sleep badly at night, launches a woman met in front of a Sao Paulo theater where the left-wing candidate was speaking. She doubts the polls that give her a small lead.

Here, we are talking about a nightmare by evoking a possible second term for the outgoing president. A far-right leader who displays his disgust for homosexuals and blacks.

Bolsonaro, never again! launches a woman named Brasilia. He destroyed so many things in this country. She talks about the rise of intolerance, the destruction of the Amazon.

Indigenous people from the Yanomami nation outside their Amazon jungle hut in the state of Roraima, in northern Brazil.

We spent four very dark years, says Daniela, who came with her young son. She is a teacher and she thinks about the future of her young students. I always tell them to believe in their dreams. But if Bolsonaro stays (…) even I won't dream anymore.

At 70, Carota has seen politicians pass by. She also lived through the military dictatorship that ruled the country until 1985. Her fears run deep.

Bolsonaro will win the election first, as Hitler says she. And afterwards, he will transform this country, sell its wealth, install allies in important positions.

This noon, the Bolsonarists demonstrate by car, truck or motorcycle in Sao Paulo. They are making noise; loudspeakers spit out techno and samba versions of their political slogans

Diego explains that despite the pandemic and the war, our country is not faring so badly. When all is well, now is not the time to change!

Supporters of the outgoing president.

Marcos came with his two sons. In the past, he supported Lula's workers' party, not knowing that they were stealing from us. That's why I'm here, to show my children the right path.

In this crowd, many people remember the vast corruption scandal that led several politicians in prison, including Lula.

The other governments, they took everything for themselves, explains Maria. We are fighting for our country to progress.

In recent years, access to firearms has been greatly facilitated. Their number has tripled in a few years.

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At a shooting range near Sao Paulo, people applaud the changes, pointing out that the number of violent crimes has dropped since Bolsonaro took office.

The owner believes that those who own weapons will have to surrender them if Lula wins. The number of crimes will increase, explains Rogerio. The police cannot be everywhere.

Many are also afraid of the result, and of the reaction of the incumbent president and his supporters if they are declared losers.

Several have in mind this sentence from a speech that he pronounced at the end of the summer. There are three possibilities for my future, Jair Bolsonaro had said, to be arrested, killed or defeated.

Such statements are accompanied by doubts about the integrity of the electoral process. This same process by which Jair Bolsonaro came to power.

Faced with such statements, with the number of weapons in circulation and the current tensions, it is not surprising that many Brazilians prefer not to talk about their electoral choice.

< p class="e-p">This Sunday, Brazilians are voting with bated breath. By not knowing how the other side will react to the results which promise to be tight.

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