The elections in Brazil, in the shadow of the ghost of a coup

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Manuel Perez Bella |

Sao Paulo (EFE) defeat announced by all the polls.

The far-right leader’s attacks on the electoral system have multiplied since he took power in 2018 and Bolsonaro himself, with ambiguous statements, has raised the specter of a coup.

“History can repeat itself,” Bolsonaro warned on September 7, during an Independence Day speech, after listing several historical dates, some alluding to military uprisings and the coup. of State of 1964.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a campaign rally in Santos, Brazil. EFE/ Guilherme Dionisio

That day, many supporters and coryphees called on him in a massive rally to promote military intervention, shut down parliament, and remove Supreme Court justices.

He, far from disavowing these overflows, protected them within the framework of freedom of expression.

strong institutions

According to analysts consulted by Efe, the possibility that Bolsonaro does not recognize the election result cannot be ruled out, nor the risk that it is an attempt to imitate the assault on the Capitol of the United States, which was led by supporters of then-President Donald Trump in January 2021 to prevent the victory of his rival, Joe Biden, from being recognized.

“Democracies begin to die when politicians question the electoral system and when democratic institutions are attacked. Trump has done it and Bolsonaro is not far behind. Their ideologues are the same”, comments Paulo Ramírez, professor at the School of Sociology and Politics of São Paulo.

ELECTIONS IN BRAZIL
Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during an election campaign act. EFE/ Guilherme Dionisio

So far, according to this analyst, Brazilian institutions have managed to “neutralize” all attacks against the electoral system that have come from Bolsonarism.

Parliament refused to collect the printed vote, as Bolsonaro demanded as part of a campaign to discredit the security of electronic ballot boxes, when the fraud has never been detected since they were introduced in the country in 1996 .

The Electoral Tribunal also introduced changes to the vote counting system in the interest of transparency, to avoid the possibility of any questioning by the military, who for the first time registered as observers of the electoral process.

Civil society opposition to Bolsonaro’s attacks has also been fierce, taking the form of pro-democracy manifestos backed by business associations, universities, social groups and countless public figures.

Is a blow possible?

ELECTIONS IN BOLSONARO IN BRAZIL
File photo of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. EFE/Antonio Lacerda

This civil resistance shows the “failure” of Bolsonarism in its attempt to broaden social support for its campaign against the electoral system, underlines Carlos Machado, professor of political science at the University of Brasilia.

And for a coup to succeed, “you need the support of society, not just the military.”

However, according to this analyst, “the only fear” is that these ideas have penetrated the hard core of Bolsonarism, especially in organized groups in the security sector, such as the military, police forces and illegal armed groups that control many favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

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View of Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro T-shirts on a street in Manaus, Brazil. EFE/Raphael Alves

The military could try to support Bolsonaro to defend the privileges and public positions they have obtained over the past four years.

But they could also have an interest in “abandoning ship” from the leader of the far right to avoid further carrying the image of the institution.

A campaign marred by violence

The most palpable risk for analysts is that the high level of tension leads to new violent episodes, such as the two known political assassinations in the country in the past two months, a situation unprecedented in past elections.
In both cases, the crimes were perpetrated by Bolsonaro supporters, who killed voters of the main opposition candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

And despite the fact that all the polls favor Lula, Bolsonaro does not hesitate to continue to strain the atmosphere by spreading a cloak of suspicion over any result that does not favor him at the polls next Sunday.

Web editor: Nuria Santesteban

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