Bolsonaro’s moderation pledge lasts less than 24 hours

bolsonaro braga netto
President Jair Bolsonaro, next to Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

On Tuesday, Brazilian House Speaker Arthur Lira said President Jair Bolsonaro had promised to respect the floor’s decision to reject the constitutional amendment proposal reinstating paper ballots as a supplement to Brazil’s 100-percent electronic voting system.

He didn’t.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Bolsonaro poured scorn on the result, claiming that it leaves Brazil “with an election whose results can’t be trusted.” With his eldest son, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, by his side, the president accused electoral authorities of using hackers to hurt him during the 2018 election — a race he won by a 10-percentage point landslide.

In recent weeks, Mr. Bolsonaro has threatened to prevent the elections from taking place unless he gets his way.

In this morning’s issue of the Brazil Daily newsletter, we warned that the promise would not hold up for long. “We believe Brazil hasn’t seen the last of the paper ballot controversy, and Mr. Lira will be confronted with the dilemma of continuing to swallow Mr. Bolsonaro’s attacks or using the weapons at his disposal against the president – which ultimately means initiating an impeachment process,” wrote editor-in-chief Gustavo Ribeiro.

And yet, the closer we get to the 2022 elections, the more unlikely ousting the president becomes.