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Politicians Seek Electorate's Blessing at March for Jesus

06/01/2018 - 12h17

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ANNA VIRGINIA BALLOUSSIER
SÃO PAULO

Estevam Hernandes, the apostle who conceived of the March for Jesus, said on the eve of the event that the march is not a political platform, "but we pray for everyone".

However, that did not keep several politicians from seeking the electorate's blessing for the coming election. Among them were candidates João Doria (PSDB) and Márcio França (PSB), both of whom will be running for the governorship of São Paulo, and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro (PSL), who said he sent a "love letter" to senator Magno Malta (PR) - the vice-presidential candidate of his dreams.

The march, which took place on Corpus Christi, on Thursday (the 31st), started in the downtown region of São Paulo and ended in the city's northern district - the event's traditional route. The organization estimated that 2 million people attended.

Felipe Endrehano/Zimel/Folhapress
Corpus Christis in Caçapava
Corpus Christis in Caçapava

Former São Paulo mayor João Doria went to the march accompanied by Flavio Rocha: the PRB presidential candidate who endorsed Mr. Doria in the São Paulo gubernatorial race one day prior.

Their support for one another was considered awkward for Geraldo Alckmin, the former São Paulo governor and presidential candidate who also happens to be Mr. Doria's mentor.

But according to Mr. Doria - who, moments earlier, took a selfie at a café near the event with Mr. Rocha, São Paulo mayor Bruno Covas and city councilman João Jorge - his encounter with the PRB candidate was by no means awkward.

"What we have here is a convergence for a country that rallies around candidates who defend Brazil. Neither on the left, nor on the right: that's Brazil's platform," Mr. Doria said.

Mr. Hernandes reiterated the march's "entirely apolitical" character.

When it came to presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, Mr. Hernandes said that he needed to promote more "love and tolerance" and give up his "angry rhetoric" if he wanted to conquer the evangelical vote.

Mr. Bolsonaro said that, after being criticized, he went up to Mr. Hernandes and said that "the way he looked at me He looked right into my eyes: that alone changed something".

The presidential candidate's presence on stage caused mixed feelings. While some participants greeted him with applause, others booed him.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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