House to go ahead with vote on paper ballots after military parade

house paper ballots Speaker Arthur Lira on August 10. Photo: Luis Macedo/CD/CC-BY 4.0
Speaker Arthur Lira on August 10. Photo: Luis Macedo/CD/CC-BY 4.0

House Speaker Arthur Lira said on Tuesday afternoon that he would not postpone the floor vote which will likely bury the bill to reinstate paper ballots as a supplement to Brazil’s 100-percent electronic voting system. 

Mr. Lira had considered postponing the vote after President Jair Bolsonaro staged a small military parade in front of the Congress and Supreme Court buildings, but lawmakers argued that this would be a significant sign of weakness. The president has threatened to prevent elections from happening should paper ballots not be introduced — but Mr. Lira minimized the parade as a “tragic coincidence.”

Speaking to reporters, the House Speaker said President Bolsonaro promised to accept the result of the Congressional vote regardless of the outcome. However, history suggests otherwise: Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly returned to his radical stances, just weeks or days after brief bouts of moderation.

And, at every turn, Mr. Bolsonaro shifts the goalposts a little further down the line, further eroding democracy. Columnist Benjamin Fogel has called the Bolsonaro way of doing politics a mix between “Groundhog Day” and “Friday the 13th.”

Believing that this time will be different and that he’ll stick to his promise seems naïve, reckless – or both.