British politicians have signed a special motion in defence of Brazilian democracy, following threats to the election process from neofascist president Jair Bolsonaro and his military dominated government. That threat has been amplified by a wave of political violence around the country, including the murder of Workers Party activist Marcelo Arruda.
The text of the early day motion, obtained ahead of publication by Brasilwire, reads as follows:
“EDM (Early Day Motion)285: tabled on 12 July 2022.
Political violence and presidential election in Brazil.
This House expresses its deep concerns about reports of political violence against representatives of the Workers’ Party in Brazil ahead of this October’s Presidential election; notes that the far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his cabinet ministers, nearly half of whom are military generals, have made repeated threats against the integrity of this year’s upcoming elections; further notes that these have worsened as former President and Workers’ Party leader Lula da Silva has opened up significant poll leads; is concerned that threats, intimidation and hate speech from the President and his supporters create a context in which acts of political violent are more likely; condemns the 9 July killing at a birthday party of Marcelo Arruda, a Workers’ Party official in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, by a Bolsonaro supporter who chanted we are Bolsonaro here; notes that Bolsonaro’s supporters have also attacked pro-Lula rallies including with a home-made bomb and the use of drones to drop faeces onto crowds; and calls on the British Government to raise concerns with the Brazilian government about these reports of violence and intimidation and to call for the coming elections to be free and fair.”
The motion’s primary sponsor is opposition Labour Party member of parliament for Leeds East Richard Burgon, chair of the Brazil Solidarity Initiative, which was founded four years ago in response to Bolsonaro’s controversial election, in which current frontrunner Lula da Silva was jailed to prevent his likely victory. An earlier EDM expressing concern about the far-right president followed Bolsonaro’s election.
The new UK motion follows an effort by progressive lawmakers in the United States to amend the Defense Authorisation Act to punish the Brazilian Armed Forces by cutting aid if it undermines the election.
So far the Brazil election early day motion has been supported by 16 MPs, including Labour, Scottish National Party, SDLP and Independents, including former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The UK’s Conservative government has enjoyed a close relationship with Bolsonaro and his allies. Brasilwire revealed through freedom of information requests that the far-right candidate had held a succession of meetings with British officials in the months and years prior to his election. It is unclear if any Conservative Party MPs will support the new motion.