Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, risks losing his October bid for re-election. If he disputes the result, his shrinking but increasingly far-right support base might take to the streets. State institutions should prepare to deal with baseless fraud accusations and to curb possible violence.
Supreme Electoral Court resisted continued military interest in electoral process as public polarisation over armed forces grew. Ahead of presidential elections set for Oct, concerns grew regarding unlawful intervention of military in electoral process. Superior Electoral Court 2-19 Aug granted military permission to inspect source code for electronic voting machines to be used for elections, following Defence Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira’s request 1 Aug. However, court 8 Aug declined Nogueira’s request, made in July, to access 2014 and 2018 election data, arguing military has no mandate to analyse past elections. Court same day announced army’s Col Ricardo Sant’anna would be barred from participating in group responsible for overseeing elections, accusing him of “spreading false information in order to discredit the Brazilian electoral system”. After confrontation with Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Bolsonaro 10 Aug halted plans to combine traditional Sept 7 Independence Day military parade with electoral rally organised by supporters in Copacabana neighbourhood. Proposed joint event polarised public; notably, social network monitoring initiative Democracia Digital 10 Aug said right-wing Telegram groups and channels in Jan-July 2022 saw 695% increase in messages with content including calls for military intervention and demands to arrest Supreme Court justices compared to same period in 2021. Meanwhile, University of São Paulo Law School 11 Aug presented “Letter to Brazilians in defence of the Democratic Rule of Law” at launch event; letter, published late July, raised concerns about “immense danger to democratic normality” amid “insinuations of contempt for the results of the elections”, gathered over 1.1mn signatures.
As momentum builds for impeaching President Jair Bolsonaro, he relies on the armed forces for support. Will the generals stay the course? Could they break with him, at peril to their institutional interests? These questions, crucial to Brazilian politics, have no obvious answer.
Despite mishandling a pandemic that has claimed over 160,000 lives, Brazil’s president is enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to emergency cash transfers and reduced political tensions. But his fortunes may turn, and the threat he poses to Brazilian democracy rise again.
The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence.
The frontier between Brazil and its crisis-ridden neighbour Venezuela has become a major migration route, a hotspot for crime and a flashpoint for violence. This is the first of three commentaries on Venezuela’s troubled borderlands.