For years, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has spouted baseless claims that the country’s electoral system is rigged — even casting doubt over the 2018 election, which he won. Pundits are unanimous in their analysis that this discourse is no more than a red herring: an attempt to muddy the waters around Brazil’s voting system to lay the groundwork to challenge the results come October, when polls suggest Mr. Bolsonaro will lose handily to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Each one of his electoral fraud claims has been repeatedly debunked by journalists and Brazil’s electoral court, yet Mr. Bolsonaro persists.
His latest move in the strategy to discredit Brazil’s election system came on Monday, when he invited a group of foreign ambassadors to a presentation at the official presidential residence in Brasília. The reason, he claimed, was to present proof that the country’s electronic ballot boxes were untrustworthy, but once again no such evidence was forthcoming, and the PowerPoint presentation even included a spelling error.
In fact, the meeting only served to open the eyes of the international press to Mr. Bolsonaro’s ruse, with publications around the world beginning to realize that the president intends to steal the October election.
Speaking to The Brazilian Report this week, Paulo Roberto de Almeida, a retired career ambassador who served as a counselor at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington between 1999 and 2003, said that Mr. Bolsonaro is “creating an environment of tension in Brazil for a possible political coup,” a plan which has now been put on show for the world to see.