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Brazil election

A street vendor sells election-related merchandise in Rio de Janeiro on September 27, 2022. (Photo: Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images)

Sanders, Kaine Hail US Senate's Passage of Brazil Election Resolution

"It is important for the people of Brazil to know we're on their side, on the side of democracy," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "With passage of this resolution, we are sending that message."

Brett Wilkins

With just four days to go until the first round of Brazil's presidential contest, a pair of U.S. senators on Wednesday hailed the upper chamber's passage of a resolution calling on officials in the South American giant to ensure the election is "conducted in a free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful manner."

"With this vote, the Senate sent a powerful message."

"It is imperative that the U.S. Senate make it clear through this resolution that we support democracy in Brazil," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who co-sponsored the resolution with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). "It would be unacceptable for the United States to recognize a government that came to power undemocratically, and it would send a horrific message to the entire world."

"It is important for the people of Brazil to know we're on their side, on the side of democracy," Sanders added. "With passage of this resolution, we are sending that message."

Without mentioning far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro by name, the resolution—which passed by unanimous consent—notes "efforts to incite political violence [and] encourage the armed forces of Brazil to intervene in the conduct of the electoral processes," as well as to "question or subvert the democratic and electoral institutions of Brazil."

Bolsonaro, an open admirer of the former U.S.-backed 1964-85 military dictatorship in whose army he served as an officer, has warned he may not accept the results of the election in the likely event he loses.

Polls show former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers' Party leading Bolsonaro by 15-20 points heading into Sunday's first-round presidential election. Brazilian pollster IPEC gives the democratic socialist challenger a commanding 48% to 31% lead over the incumbent, just two points shy of the total needed to avert a runoff round by outright victory.

"Only god will remove me," defiantly declared during a speech on September 7, Brazil's bicentennial.

There are widespread fears in Brazil and beyond that a beaten Bolsonaro may attempt to foment a coup or an insurrection inspired by the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of defeated former President Donald Trump.

Kaine asserted that "at a time when democracy is under attack in Brazil, the United States, and in countries around the world, we all have a responsibility to stand up for peoples' fundamental right to have a voice in their government, free from fear of retribution or political retaliation."

"With this vote, the Senate sent a powerful message that we are committed to linking arms with the people of Brazil in support of their country's democracy and remain confident that Brazil's electoral institutions will ensure a free, fair, and transparent vote," he added.

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