RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is "a bit worse than (Donald) Trump," leftist election front-runner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday, describing him as "ruder, less civilized and a bad copy," of the former U.S. president.
Bolsonaro, a far-right populist who trails Lula in polls ahead of the Oct. 2 election, has long admired Trump and has been dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics." The two were ideological allies, and the time they overlapped was one of closer ties between the two largest nations in the Americas.
By contrast, Bolsonaro was one of the last global leaders to recognize President Joe Biden's election victory, and ties between Brasilia and Washington have become frostier since Trump left office.
Critics fear Bolsonaro may seek to copy Trump and refuse to accept losing to Lula in the upcoming election. For months, Bolsonaro has been making unfounded claims of election fraud, and said the country's widely praised electronic voting system lacks credibility, sparking fears of a constitutional crisis.
Lula, speaking with reporters in Rio de Janeiro, said the world was a better place without people like Bolsonaro and Trump in charge.
"The world is already suffering a lot," Lula said, adding he would have preferred if Bolsonaro had modeled himself on Biden and his Democratic predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Bolsonaro's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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