EU lawmakers on Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Respect vote or face sanctions

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BRASILIA (Reuters) – Several dozen members of the European parliament urged European Union leaders to monitor Brazil’s Sunday election for attempts by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to subvert democracy, arguing trade sanctions should apply if he does.

Voters in Brazil head to the polls for a first-round presidential vote on Oct. 2, with leftist front-runner and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, expanding his lead over Bolsonaro in the latest polls even as fears of post-election turmoil persist.

In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice President Josep Borrell, the Greens–European Free Alliance and some Social Democrat parliamentarians, 50 altogether, accused Bolsonaro of systematically attacking Brazil’s electoral system.

“We urge you to take additional steps to make it unequivocally clear to President Bolsonaro and his government that Brazil’s constitution must be respected and attempts to subvert the rules of democracy are unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The EU should state that it will use different levers, including trade, to defend Brazil’s democracy and human rights,” they added.

Later on Wednesday, the United States Senate passed a resolution urging Brazil’s government to ensure a “free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful” election.

The resolution also calls on U.S. authorities to reconsider its relationship with any government that comes to power in Brazil through undemocratic means, including a military coup.

Bolsonaro is widely expected to contest the result if he loses. He has claimed without evidence that electoral authorities will rig the vote against him and that electronic voting cannot be trusted.

A recent IPEC poll shows Lula increased his lead to 17 points with 48% support versus 31% for Bolsonaro. The poll showed Lula could win outright in the first round, with 52% of voter intentions, above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second-round.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Additional reporting by Peter Siqueira; Editing by Paul Simao and Christopher Cushing)

Photo – The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. EPA-EFE/Joedson Alves

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