Brazilian left divided as far-right candidate cruises toward presidency

A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), holds up a cardboard box depicting an electronic ballot box, during a demonstration in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in this October 14, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 October 2018
0

Brazilian left divided as far-right candidate cruises toward presidency

  • Haddad, a former PT mayor of Sao Paulo, has been unable to distance himself from the disdain many Brazilians harbor for the party’s role in corruption schemes revealed by investigators in recent years
  • Lula da Silva, is doing jail time for a corruption conviction. Videos of the event showed Cid Gomes was met with rowdy boos

SAO PAULO: Efforts to unite the Brazilian left against right-wing presidential front runner Jair Bolsonaro have snagged on internal squabbles, making it even harder to close a gap in opinion polls less than two weeks before the runoff election.
The latest poll, released by Ibope late on Monday, showed conservative firebrand Bolsonaro had a commanding lead over leftist rival Fernando Haddad, with 59 percent of valid votes against 41 percent for Haddad. The poll, details of which ran in newspaper Estado de S.Paulo on Tuesday, showed Haddad with a higher rate of “rejection” among voters ahead of the Oct. 28 runoff, due in part to dislike of his Workers Party (PT) even among fellow leftists. About 47 percent of people polled said they would never vote for him, compared with 35 percent rejecting Bolsonaro.
The bad news for Haddad came as efforts to attract the voters of Ciro Gomes, who came third in the first round of voting on Oct. 7 after a center-left campaign on the Democratic Labour Party ticket, devolved into a shouting match at a campaign event on Monday night.
At a rally in the northeastern state of Ceara, his brother and campaign manager Cid Gomes was called upon to formally endorse Haddad.
But Cid Gomes took the opportunity to call for a “mea culpa” over sprawling graft schemes orchestrated by leaders of the PT. The party’s founder, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is doing jail time for a corruption conviction. Videos of the event showed Cid Gomes was met with rowdy boos.
“You’re going to lose the election, and it’s your fault,” Cid Gomes shot back. “You morons! Lula is in prison!“
The PT held the presidency for 13 of the last 15 years and Lula remains beloved by many for his social policies, credited with easing the lives of the poor in one of the world’s most unequal countries.
Haddad, a former PT mayor of Sao Paulo, has been unable to distance himself from the disdain many Brazilians harbor for the party’s role in corruption schemes revealed by investigators in recent years.
Haddad has struggled to both stand by Lula, whom the PT considers an unjustly convicted political prisoner, and also acknowledge the party’s errors.
Bolsonaro, 63, a seven-term congressman who openly defends Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, is pitching himself as the anti-establishment candidate and appealing to voters fed up with political corruption and violent crime.


Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

Updated 21 March 2019
0

Bosnians welcome UN verdict against Karadzic

  • ‘He should never be allowed to go free,’ Bosnian diplomat tells Arab News
  • Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict

JEDDAH: Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, widely known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” has had his sentence for genocide and war crimes increased to life in prison.

He was appealing a 2016 verdict in which he was given a 40-year sentence for the Srebrenica massacre in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian-Serb forces in July 1995. Karadzic, 73, was also found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The UN court said the 40-year sentence did not reflect the trial chamber’s analysis on the “gravity and responsibility for the largest and greatest set of crimes ever attributed to a single person at the ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).”

The ruling by the judges on Wednesday cannot be appealed, and will end one of the highest-profile legal battles stemming from the Balkan wars.

Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding Judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out the damning judgment.

The former leader is one of the most senior figures tried by The Hague’s war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the Bosnian conflict, which left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose a sentence of just 40 years, given what he called the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of Karadzic’s crimes. Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence.

Families of victims who traveled to The Hague hailed the verdict. Mothers, some elderly and walking with canes, wept with apparent relief after watching the ruling read on a screen in Srebrenica.

Halim Grabus, a Bosnian-Muslim diplomat based in Geneva, told Arab News that the verdict “will act as a deterrent against the criminals responsible for the genocide of Muslims during the 1992-1995 war. He (Karadzic) should never be allowed to go free. He deserves maximum punishment.”

Grabus was in Bosnia during the war, and witnessed the scorched-earth policy of Karadzic and his fellow generals.

Grabus said it was not possible in today’s world to expect total justice, “but the verdict is important for the victims and survivors of Karadzic’s genocidal politics and ideology of hate.” 

A large majority of Serbs “continue to justify what he did, and continue to carry forward his hateful campaign against Bosnian Muslims,” Grabus added.

“Many of the killers of Muslims during the Bosnian war are still roaming free. They need to be arrested and brought to justice.”

Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian-Serb wartime military commander, is awaiting an appeal judgment of his genocide and war crimes conviction, which earned him a life sentence. Both he and Karadzic were convicted of genocide for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre.