Brazil’s Workers’ Party likens pro-Israel presidential front-runner to Hitler
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Brazil goes to the polls on Sunday

Brazil’s Workers’ Party likens pro-Israel presidential front-runner to Hitler

Right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro has gained about 10 percent in the polls since being stabbed while campaigning last month and is poised to reach run-off later this month

Brazil's Presidential pre-candidate and conservative lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, speaks during a meeting of the "In Defense of Muncipalities" congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazil's Presidential pre-candidate and conservative lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, speaks during a meeting of the "In Defense of Muncipalities" congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Brazil’s Workers’ Party compared far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro to Adolf Hitler in a video published Thursday.

The clip was posted on the party’s Twitter account and came as Bolsonaro saw a rise in the polls ahead of elections on Sunday.

Bolsonaro has a history of controversial statements. The Worker’s Party video shows him making offensive comments and includes images of Hitler.

Bolsonaro can be seen arguing that voting “won’t change anything” and saying that only a civil war will solve the country’s problems.

The candidate has gained about 10 percent in the polls since being stabbed while campaigning last month.

Often called Brazil’s Trump, Bolsonaro has vowed to move the country’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and has said he will close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

After the stabbing, he refused treatment at an Arab hospital commonly chosen by the country’s most senior politicians, fueling rivalry that made headlines and led to conspiracy theories in social media.

The most radical among Bolsonaro’s nearly 10 million followers on social media suggested his life would be at risk if moved from the city of Juiz de Fora to receive medical treatment “by the hands of Arab and Muslim doctors,” adding that, at the Jewish institution, the Israel’s Mossad would be able to protect him.

This combination of pictures created on October 4, 2018 shows Brazilian presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro (top), for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), in Brasilia on September 5, 2018, and Fernando Haddad (bottom), for the Workers Party (PT), in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 19, 2018. (AFP PHOTO/EVARISTO SA AND Nelson ALMEIDA)

Bolsonaro is seen as a “clean” candidate, unmarred by corruption scandals that have sullied so many others despite his spending the past 27 years in congress, most recently with the tiny far-right Social Liberal Party. Though a Catholic, he has close ties to evangelical groups that form a powerful political lobby.

Yet he is reviled by around 40 percent of voters, according to surveys, with many objecting to his frequent comments degrading women, making light of rape, expressing hostility to homosexuals, and criticizing the poor. His nostalgia for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship has also chilled voters.

Still, the congressman and former army captain enjoyed 32 percent of voter support ahead of Sunday’s election. He was trailed by Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, who had 21 percent of support among those polled.

If those scores are borne out in the general election, Bolsonaro and Haddad will go on to a run-off ballot on October 28. That round is seen as too close to reliably call as Haddad would likely be boosted by leftists and some centrist voters swinging behind him.

But analysts say Bolsonaro’s rise has been so swift there is an outside possibility he could even carry off the presidency on Sunday without going to a second round, by winning more than 50 percent of all valid votes.

Protests have sprung up against Bolsonaro, with another called for later Saturday in Brazil’s biggest city of Sao Paulo.

Supporters of Brazil’s presidential candidate for the Workers Party Fernando Haddad shout slogans in support, during a campaign rally in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

But he has solid support from better-educated Brazilians fed up with crime and corruption, and by business leaders and investors swayed by his promises to reduce Brazil’s spiraling debt through privatizations in the world’s eight-biggest economy.

“Bolsonaro has better scores from voters with high revenues and good levels of education than from the poor. He also has wooed more men than women,” noted a political analyst, Jairo Nicolau.

Around 50 percent of Brazilian women say they would never vote for Bolsonaro, according to surveys.

Even though campaigning in public ended on Thursday, many of the 13 candidates continued to make their case via social networks in Latin America’s largest democracy.

Sunday’s election, in addition to deciding among the presidential candidates, will choose new federal and state legislatures.

Polling stations will open at 8:00 am (1100 GMT) and close at 5:00 pm (2000 GMT). Voting is compulsory and entered electronically, with results expected within a couple of hours of the closing time.

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