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SAO PAULO: President Jair Bolsonaro is a “cheap copy” of former US counterpart Donald Trump for his constant criticism of Brazil’s election system, the rival running to replace Bolsonaro said Monday.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the leftist who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, accused the far-right incumbent of taking a page from Trump’s script, attacking the South American giant’s electronic voting system.

Bolsonaro regularly alleges – with scant evidence – that the system is plagued by fraud, raising fears he could reject the outcome of Brazil’s October election if he loses.

Bolsonaro “has lied, spread fake news and defied our institutions,” Lula said in an interview with foreign correspondents.

“He’s a cheap copy of Trump,” added the 76-year-old, who leads in the polls.

However, he said he was confident Brazilian institutions would adhere to the election result “without question.”

Bolsonaro’s criticism of the computerized voting machines Brazil has used since 1996 have raised fears the man nicknamed the “Tropical Trump” could follow in the footsteps of his political role model if he loses.

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Some Brazilians fear the country could have its own, possibly uglier version of last year’s attack on the Capitol in Washington, where Trump supporters rioted in a failed bid to stop Congress from confirming his 2020 election loss.

“Trump also tried to avoid accepting the result. They tried to invade the Capitol, and in the end he had to give in,” Lula said.

Bolsonaro, who sat for a televised interview Monday with the nation’s most-watched news program, said that he would respect the results, “as long as the elections are clean and transparent.”

During the 40-minute long Jornal Nacional interview, four words could be seen written on Bolsonaro’s left hand: “Nicaragua,” “Argentina,” “Colombia” and “Dario Messer”, a financier convicted in Brazil’s massive Car Wash anti-corruption investigation. None of the topics came up during the interview.

Lula, who was himself convicted and jailed during the Car Wash investigation before having his conviction overturned by the Supreme Court, also vowed if elected to rein in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

It has surged by 75 percent on Bolsonaro’s watch versus the previous decade.


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