By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With Brazil’s general elections less than a month away, presidential candidates have suddenly been forced to change their strategies due to the knife attack on frontrunner, Jair Bolsonaro, last Thursday (September 6th).
During Sunday’s TV presidential debate none of the candidates spoke openly against the right-wing favorite, choosing instead of promoting their government agenda.
Some competitors who had produced electoral advertisements directly opposing Bolsonaro, as was the case of former governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), pulled the ads, giving a “truce”, at least in the in short-term, to the attacks.
Alckmin’s PSDB campaign team decided to withdraw during all radio advertising criticizing Bolsonaro for the next few days, opting instead to list the accomplishments of the former São Paulo governor.
“Politics is done with dialogue and conviction, never with hatred. Any act of violence is deplorable,” said the candidate on Thursday, while on the campaign trail.
Others, such as PT’s (Workers Party) Fernando Haddad, who is currently listed as VP to former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s PT ticket, told reporters that he would not change his campaign strategy.
“My speech will not change because of the circumstance,” said Haddad, adding that the PT TV and radio campaign never focused on attacking Bolsonaro, but rather publicizing the PT’s government agenda.
Over the weekend, Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) director, Rogério Galloro, confirmed that the number of federal police officers used in the presidential candidates’ security would increase from twenty-one to up to twenty-five police officers per candidate.
According to the latest survey, released last Wednesday (September 5th) presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro leads the race with has twenty-two percent of voter intention, followed by Ciro Gomes and Marina Silva, each with twelve percent. Geraldo Alckmin has nine percent while Fernando Haddad has six percent of voter intention.
But if Bolsonaro is clearly in front of race at the moment, he also has the highest voter rejection rate of the candidacies, with 44 percent of the voters stating they would never vote for the former military official. According to analysts, however, after the attack the polls may register greater support and lower rejection rate for the right-wing candidate.