Televised debates between presidential candidates this year could well not feature the two leading contenders in the race: former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and President Jair Bolsonaro. Together they account for almost 70 percent of voting intentions, but are more inclined to play defense instead and avoid attacks that could dent their current standing, according to multiple reports.
Lula is said to have told allies that he will avoid debates on right-wing, pro-Bolsonaro station Jovem Pan News and on the mainstream Globo network – with which the Workers’ Party has had a confrontational relationship for decades. In a recent interview, Lula said that he does not agree with the current format of the debates.
Mr. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, is not sending his representatives to the preparation meetings for the events, and has effectively signaled that he will only attend the Jovem Pan News debate. If he does skip debates in the first round, he would be doing what every president seeking re-election has done in the past, including Lula in 2006.
In 2018, Mr. Bolsonaro missed almost all the debates after being stabbed while on the campaign trail.
Here are televised debates scheduled so far:
- August 6: CNN Brasil
- August 9: Jovem Pan News
- August 14: Band
- September 2: RedeTV
- TV Aparecida: September 13
- SBT (in partnership with other outlets): September 24
The first round of the election takes place on October 2.