The Bolsonaro Campaign’s New Weapon: Ciro

Estadão newspaper reports that Bolsonaro’s campaign has decided to use PDT candidate Ciro Gomes’ relentless attacks on former president Lula as a means to prevent his victory in October’s presidential election.

Members of President Jair Bolsonaro’s election campaign team “want to increase the visibility of Ciro Gomes’ (PDT) criticism of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT)”, report journalists Mariana Carneiro, Julia Lindner and Gustavo Côrtes, in Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, where they explain that the Bolsonaro campaign “believe that, by highlighting Ciro’s attacks against the PT, they are able to neutralize a potential tactical vote movement for Lula in the 1st round – which could lead to a victory for the PT”.

The argument goes that a first round victory would remove the need for a potentially tumultuous runoff between Lula and military-backed Bolsonaro, which would take place under the shadow of a threatened coup should Lula win. An emphatic first round victory is therefore viewed by many as a way to avert the opportunity for a military rejection of the result, and some high profile former Ciro voters, such as comedian Gregorio Duvivier, have declared their intent to vote for Lula in 2022 as a guaranteed way of removing neofascist Bolsonaro from power.

The report explains that “In the last Ipespe poll, Lula scored 44% of voting intentions and Ciro, 8%, which added together would exceed 50%.” Lula has already exceeded the required 50%+ valid votes (minus abstentions) for a first round victory in some polls

As an example of how the strategy was already visible, the Estadão journalists explained that Bolsonaro allies, congresswoman Bia Kicis, and director of Brazilian intelligence agency ABIN, Alexandre Ramagem, had both shared a video on social networks in which Ciro falsely claimed that former president Lula had not been cleared of the charges which kept him out of the 2018 election, which were instigated by the now disgraced Sergio Moro and the Lava Jato taskforce, and enabled Bolsonaro’s election.

The video clip in question was taken from a debate to which Gomes had invited comedian Gregorio Duvivier after being upset by a sequence about him on his satirical HBO show Greg News (pictured). The resulting confrontation on Gomes’ own YouTube channel generated a flurry of negative publicity for the former Minister and Ceará Governor.