By Bala Chambers
LONDON (AA) - Brazil's two presidential candidates are beating the campaign trail this week as they seek to gain crucial endorsements ahead of a second run-off vote Oct. 30.
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva received 48% of the vote Sunday while incumbent Jair Bolsonaro garnered 43% in the first round of the presidential elections.
The vote underscored how tight the race remains as the far-right incumbent outperformed at the ballot box.
Many polls predicted a clear first-round win for Lula who served as president from 2003 until 2010.
After the announcement of a second-round vote, both candidates have been trying to secure endorsements.
Lula, a former union leader, has received the support of center-left candidate Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Workers' Party (PDT) who finished fourth with 3% of the vote Sunday.
In a video on Twitter, Gomes said he supported his party's decision to back Lula without mentioning the 76-year-old left-wing politician by name.
He described the option to vote for Lula as "the only way out" for Brazil.
Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has been securing support from a list of influential political allies, including from the judiciary.
Former judge, minister and senator-elect, Sergio Moro who had previously jailed Lula in a prominent corruption case in 2018 that was later overturned in 2019, denounced Lula's potential return to the presidency.
"Lula is not an electoral option, with his government marked by the corruption of democracy," Moro wrote on Twitter, adding that as Lula's Workers' Party (PT) seeks to return to power, "I declare, in the second round, support for Bolsonaro."
Ahead of what is expected to be a fierce second round battle, Bolsonaro, 67, has expanded social aid spending for those hardest hit in Brazil with a range of programs.
Many observers described the election as the most divisive in recent decades while others suggest it is the most important since Brazil returned to democracy.
For more than one year, Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has also cast doubt about whether he will respect the election results, raising concerns about the country’s electronic voting system without providing evidence.
Fears persist about potential political violence in the highly charged environment, with rights groups suggesting Bolsonaro may end up contesting the vote.