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Brazilian expats wait hours in Montreal to vote in presidential election

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Brazilian expats wait hours in Montreal to vote in presidential election
WATCH: The people of Brazil head to the polls on Sunday to vote for their country's next leader, and as Global's Olivia O'Malley reports, thousands of Brazilian Montrealers waited in very long lines to cast their second vote in four weeks – Oct 30, 2022

Brazilians head to the polls Sunday to decide who will lead their country for the next four years. In Montreal, expats waited in long lines to cast their second vote in four weeks.

There are 11 polling stations spread throughout Dawson College, each with a line.

“You have to decide the directions of your country. So this is really important, no matter the time you have to wait in line,” said Brazilian Montrealer Thiago Sousa.

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While the queues to vote are moving, the average wait time is about one hour. Around 8,500 people are expected to cast a ballot in Montreal for the run-off election.

“I waited for two hours today. The first round I waited for four hours,” said Xandra Stefanel.

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“It’s very important to me to vote and try to change our reality in Brazil for now.”

Voters in line donned different colours to show their support for the opposing candidates, with those wearing red typically in favour of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, while yellow usually supports incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

Read more: Lula, Bolsonaro head to runoff after tight Brazil election

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“(Bolsonaro) is serious. He is to represent the family. And for us, it’s important,” said Sandra Freitas, who waited in line with her husband and two sons.

Gilbert Merariu has lived in Montreal for 30 years. When he first voted in Quebec, he says there were only 2,000 Brazilians in the province.

“It’s not easy to live in Brazil. The crime, economy, and everything. So everybody’s looking for a better life. And Brazilians do like Quebec,” Merariu said.

Even though they are here to vote, for established Brazilians, it’s a chance to reconnect with old friends and give younger Brazilians a taste of home.

“We can feel ourselves at home with so many people of the same nationality,” said Sousa.

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