Lula attempts to sway Brazil's evangelicals ahead of vote
Brasilia, Oct 20: Left-leaning Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a "commitment letter" to evangelicals Wednesday stating he would protect religious freedom if he wins the upcoming runoff election on October 30.
Da Silva, who is commonly known as Lula, met with religious leaders at a hotel in Sao Paulo where he read the letter aloud.
What did Lula say in the letter?
"We are living at a time in which lies are used intensively with the objective of stoking fear in people of good faith, pushing them away from a candidacy that is defending them more," Lula said in the statement. "That is why I felt a need to reaffirm my commitment to freedom of religion in our country."
Vivemos um período em que mentiras passaram a ser usadas com o objetivo de provocar medo nas pessoas de boa fé, e afastá-las do apoio a uma candidatura que justamente mais as defende. Reafirmo meu compromisso com a liberdade de culto e religião no Brasil. https://t.co/tcmVLCMDIf— Lula 13 (@LulaOficial) October 19, 2022
"My government will not adopt any policies that hurt religious liberty or create obstacles for churches to function freely," the left-leaning candidate said.
He also mentioned that he is "personally against abortion" but said that it is a matter for the National Congress to decide, rather than the president.
Surveys show that as many as 70% of the Brazilian population opposes abortion to some degree, with the procedure currently banned in the Latin American country except in the cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother's life.
Evangelicals throw support behind Bolsonaro
Brazil's booming evangelical community is a key source of support for incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has made protecting religious liberty the center of his platform, and expressed strong opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and so-called "gender ideology." He has accused Lula of backing "socialist dictators" who persecute Christians, such as Daniel Ortega's government in Nicaragua.
Both Lula and Bolsonaro are attempting to garner votes in the final days of the election campaign after Lula came out on top in the first round of voting.
A poll released Wednesday by statistics firm Datafolha shows Lula with 49% of the vote as compared to Bolsonaro's 45%. However, the poll indicates a statistical tie due to a 2-point margin of error.
Lula previously served as Brazil's president from 2003 to 2010. He was convicted on corruption charges in 2017 and jailed after an unsuccessful appeal. The Brazilian Supreme Court later found his incarceration unlawful in 2019 and cleared his criminal record.