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Bolsonaro speeds up payments to the poor as election looms

Brazil’s government has announced plans to speed up the welfare payments to the needy this month as a second-round election is coming up. President Jair Bolsonaro will face leftwing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a run-off vote on October 30. 

The payments of an equivalent to $120 will be sent to over 20 million families between October 11 and 25. A gas voucher will also be sent to over 5.5 million Brazilian families. The financial aid was originally planned to be disbursed the following week from October 18 to 31. The Auxilio Brasil program was created under President Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency and part of his campaign for a second term is based on the promise to continue paying the monthly benefits. Critics have speculated about potential political motivations, which the Brazilian citizenship minister Ronaldo Bento denied during a press conference on Thursday.

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