Brazilian commission to recommend charges against far-right candidate

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An internal Brazilian commission voted in favor of recommending the country’s Prosecutor General to request formal charges against far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro, a decision that could seriously challenge his lead in public opinion polls.

The panel, called the advisory commission for the Brazilian Senate, met on Monday to consider a proposal to file criminal charges against Bolsonaro after he said in an interview that child murderers should be returned to the countryside. If the proposal is accepted, it would be the first recommendation of its kind against a sitting presidential candidate and would carry weight with Brazilian criminal courts.

The proposal could also set off a round of legal wrangling, as it could face a legal challenge from Bolsonaro, who has filed two lawsuits against the commission.

Bolsonaro’s proposal for violent criminals to be returned to the countryside where they likely would be left to commit even more crimes was popular among Brazilians. A poll conducted by Ibope on April 13 found that 67 percent of respondents were in favor of it. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would vote for Bolsonaro if elections were held today. His main rival, Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor, received 36 percent of the vote.

However, the commission considered it a criminal offense to justify Bolsonaro’s call to return criminals to the countryside by painting them as violent and lawless, which is why it unanimously voted in favor of recommending charges against him, according to a Reuters report.

This isn’t the first time Bolsonaro has expressed views that would merit him being charged by the courts, as he has been previously convicted for inciting hate speech by telling a rally of supporters that black people should be killed. While polls have shown Bolsonaro leading his two main rivals by a narrow margin, he has also faced resistance from various sectors of the country. Last week, he signed a decree that would limit the use of affirmative action in employment opportunities.

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