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Business News/ News / World/  Italian citizenship for Brazil ex-president Jair Bolsonaro? All you need to know
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Italian citizenship for Brazil ex-president Jair Bolsonaro? All you need to know

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has not requested Italian citizenship and probably would not get it even if he applied, Italy said on Tuesday. The remarks came even as hundreds of his backers were arrested for storming Brazil's state institutions.

Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro (AP)Premium
Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro (AP)

Amid protests in Brazil, officials clarified that former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro was not seeking Italian citizenship. The rumours, amplified by local media reports came even as the right wing leader's supporters rioted in Brasilia on Sunday.

"He (Bolsonaro) hasn't asked for it (citizenship) and I don't believe he can have it, as far as I'm concerned," news agency Reuters quoted Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani as saying during an Italian radio interview.

Far-right elements that refuse to accept Bolsonaro's electoral defeat in mid-2022, camping outside military barracks and pleading for intervention to allow Bolsonaro to remain in power and oust Lula. When no coup materialized, they rose up themselves.

Leftist leader and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has vowed to bring those responsible for the weekend violence in Brasilia to justice. He had taken office for the second time on the new year after defeating his far-right rival in an October election.

Bolsonaro for his part had flown to the United States at the end of last year - some 48 hours before his term ended. He is under investigation in at least four criminal probes back home. His Italian ancestry had lent credence to the possibility of an ‘escape’ to the other country.

Under Italian law, people can claim nationality if they can prove they had Italian ancestors, without any generational limits. However criminal records are taken into consideration when applications are filed. Bolsonaro's great-grandfather was born in Anguillara in north-east Italy, making the ex-Brazilian president and his children eligible for citizenship.

Italy's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that two of Bolsonaro's four sons, Edoardo and Flavio, had requested citizenship in 2020. Their request is still being processed.

Lawmakers have also taken pre-emptive measures, with a left-wing Italian parliamentarian urging authorities to not grant citizenship to any member of the Bolsonaro family or to mete out preferential treatment. Angelo Bonelli has accused the family of actively backing the recent attack on Brazil's key institutions by thousands of the Bolsonaro's followers.

"The Italian government must be clear. No citizenship for Bolsonaro's children and the former president. No citizenship for supporters of coup plotters," the lawmaker said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 10 Jan 2023, 06:15 PM IST
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