Right-wing front-runner calls on Brazil to elect him on Sunday

About 26 percent of voters say they have yet to decide who they will vote for (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2018
0

Right-wing front-runner calls on Brazil to elect him on Sunday

  • Bolsonaro said he was 6 million votes short of winning the election on Sunday by a majority
  • Bolsonaro has tapped into disillusionment with a weak economy, political graft and rising violence

BRASILIA: Far-right front-runner Jair Bolsonaro appealed to Brazilians on Friday to turn out to vote for him on Sunday and give him an outright victory to avoid a run-off that some polls say he could lose to a leftist challenger.
Brazil’s most polarized election since the end of military rule in 1985 pits Bolsonaro, a former Army captain running on a law-and-order platform, against leftist Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party, whose leader is in jail for corruption.
Bolsonaro said he was 6 million votes short of winning the election on Sunday by a majority. If a run-off was necessary, it would be held on Oct. 28 between the two leading candidates.
“Let’s avoid a second round,” he appealed to supporters in a live Facebook feed, asking them to convince relatives and friends to vote for him.
An Ibope opinion poll on Wednesday had Bolsonaro nine points ahead of Haddad, but showed that he could lose a run-off. Final polls on Saturday will determine if a second vote will be needed.
Bolsonaro said an outright win on Sunday would give him a strong mandate to take office without having to enter the traditional horse-trading with political parties needed by Brazilian presidents to form coalition government.
About 26 percent of voters say they have yet to decide who they will vote for, according to the most recent poll released on Thursday by Datafolha, which showed that outright victory by Bolsonaro was still possible but not likely.
Bolsonaro, who is recovering from a near-fatal knife attack while he was campaigning, skipped the last presidential debate of the campaign on Thursday night on Brazil’s largest broadcaster TV Globo.
He said he was under doctors’ orders to stay away from the debate, but he gave an interview that aired on a rival network on Thursday night.
His decision was emblematic of his unconventional presidential bid that has eschewed traditional campaigning in favor of grassroots organizing through social media and selective interviews.
Bolsonaro has tapped into disillusionment with a weak economy, political graft and rising violence.
A Thursday survey from pollster Datafolha found Bolsonaro had 35 percent support, a jump of 3 percentage points since Tuesday. Haddad stood at 22 percent.
In the TV interview, Bolsonaro slammed Haddad for being a “puppet” of jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo, was confirmed at the top of the Workers Party ticket three weeks ago, replacing Lula, who was barred from running due to a corruption conviction. He has called Lula a key adviser, but has denied any plans to pardon the former president or give him a role in government.


Indian ‘Houdini’ feared drowned as Ganges river stunt goes wrong

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago
0

Indian ‘Houdini’ feared drowned as Ganges river stunt goes wrong

KOLKATA: An Indian magician who went missing after being lowered into a river while tied up with chains and ropes in a Houdini-inspired stunt is feared drowned, police said Monday.
Chanchal Lahiri, known by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake” (Wizard Mandrake), was lowered by winch into the river in Kolkata on Sunday in a yellow and red costume.
But the 40-year-old, his legs and his arms tightly bound, failed to emerge from the water, to the horror of onlookers including his family and team members.
Rescue workers have been scouring the fast-flowing murky waters since Sunday but he was yet to be found, Syed Waquar Raza from the river traffic police told AFP.
“We fear he drowned in the river,” he said.
Lahiri told AFP beforehand that he had successfully pulled off a similar stunt 21 years ago at the same venue in the eastern city.
“I was inside a bullet proof glass box tied with chain and locks and dropped down from Howrah bridge. Then I came out within 29 seconds.”
He admitted it would be tough to free himself this time.
“If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can’t it will be tragic,” he said.
He also said he was undertaking the death-defying stunt to “revive interest in magic.”
When Lahiri tried another stunt at the river in 2013, he was assaulted by onlookers who saw him escape from a locked cage via a door that was clearly visible.
He was beaten and punched and his long flowing golden-brown wig was pulled off by the crowd.
Almost a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong.
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American stuntman who became a sensation in the early 20th century with daredevil feats including escaping from a crate lowered into the East River in New York in 1912.