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‘After four years of suffering, we need change’ Brazilians here vote in Presidential elections

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Brazilians travelled from all over the country to Dublin to cast their vote in the Brazillian Presidential elections. Photo: Arthur Carron

Brazilians travelled from all over the country to Dublin to cast their vote in the Brazillian Presidential elections. Photo: Arthur Carron

People in the queue to cast their vote in the Brazillian Presidential election. Photo: Arthur Carron.

People in the queue to cast their vote in the Brazillian Presidential election. Photo: Arthur Carron.

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Brazilians travelled from all over the country to Dublin to cast their vote in the Brazillian Presidential elections. Photo: Arthur Carron

They came from all over Ireland, a determined army of voters who converged in Dublin’s city centre today to have their say in a Presidential Election taking place in their home country of Brazil, over 8,500 km away.

Approximately 12,000 Brazilians registered to vote remotely in a polling station set up in Erin School of English on North Great George’s Street, a 500pc jump from the 2,000 registered for the 2018 election.

But it seems that the distance from home has only fuelled the resolve among the voters to have their voice heard in what could be the most important election in their country’s history.

The highly-polarised election will determine if Brazil returns a leftist leader in the form of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to run the world’s fourth-largest democracy or maintains its controversial, far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Dublin language centre opened for voting at 8am and by midday, the queues were already huge with some people waiting more than three hours to cast their vote. Some had tiny babies strapped to their chests while others brought youngsters in buggies.

The line snaked all the way down Hill Street, along Parnell Street and back up George’s Street as Irish-based Brazilians grasped the chance to unite and have their say in the polls along with loved ones back home.

The mood was good-natured and felt like a carnival in parts as onlookers beeped their horns and shouted their support while some brought along vuvuzelas and played Samba music in the dazzling sunshine.

Lula’s supporters, desperate for change, were instantly recognisible with their scarlet ensembles, red t-shirts and red berets while those favouring Bolsonaro opted for the green and yellow of the Brazil flag.

Some of them had come from as far away as Buncrana, Kerry and Waterford but their passion for their home country was evident.

Jailson Ulisses Costa had travelled up from Galway with his friend Felipe Romanski and said it was “so important” that everyone voted.

“Our country is in a critical position. We need to come and express our opinions and get rid of him now (Bolsonaro). This is a turning point in our country and after four years of having Bolsonaro as President, he needs to go,” he said. 

Meanwhile, for Luciana Fammelly and friend Luciano Roderiges Pereira, the chance to evoke some change was what motivated them to turn up today.

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“The future of our country is in our hands. I'm living here for eight years and my family is all still living there. But the democracy of our country matters for us as much as anyone else so that’s why it’s very important to vote today,” she said.

Luciano said he hoped the election was a chance to “kick him (Bolsonaro) out” and restart democracy in Brazil.

Daniela Santos had made the five-hour journey down from Buncrana, Co Donegal said she had been living here for five years but felt compelled to vote as she made the ‘L’ sign with her hand. “I just feel if we don’t act now, we won’t have any country to go back to. That’s my feeling,” she said.

Cristiano Campos said that in Brazil, they were having “a huge political crisis” where the right-wing was becoming so strong. He said it’s been “four years of suffering” and it was a huge relief to finally cast his vote.

Some had also travelled there with youngsters including Roderigo Martines, who has lived in Navan for 21 years and was there with his wife and children aged three and five. He said he was there to vote for a better future for his children and improve the country long-term.

There are nine other candidates in the election, but their support pales in comparison to that for Mr Bolsonaro and Mr da Silva.

Recent opinion polls have given Mr da Silva a commanding lead — the last Datafolha survey published on Saturday found that 50pc of respondents who intended to vote for a candidate said they would vote for Mr da Silva, compared to 36pc for Mr Bolsonaro.

Brazil has more than 150 million eligible voters.


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