2022 Race

Speaking to investors, Bolsonaro slams Brazil’s voting system once more

President Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR
President Bolsonaro. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

During a speech to a crowd of investors on Wednesday, President Jair Bolsonaro did not grant particular attention to economic matters — and chose instead to tap into issues that would fire up his hardcore support base. He trashed Brazil’s electronic voting system, vaccine mandates — and once again said that “only God” has the power to remove him from the presidency.

Considered by many power brokers in Brasília as the single biggest threat to Brazilian democracy, the president said the high polling numbers of the left (read former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva) are the real risk for Brazilian liberties. “It doesn’t help to be very well-off financially and not have the freedom to come and go on the streets,” he said.

The president also threw jabs at electoral courts and justices, saying their moves to curb misinformation are instead curtailing freedom of speech. “They keep playing to control us […] demonetize part of the internet, and put the brakes on electoral discussions on social media,” said Mr. Bolsonaro. “How far will it go?”

Flanked by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira, the head of state once again tried to sow doubt in Brazil’s 100-percent electoral system — which has never faced any credible fraud allegations — saying he “will do everything for a free Brazil that is rid of corruption.”

When the subject shifted to the economy, Mr. Bolsonaro let Mr. Guedes speak on his behalf. The Economy Minister talked about major privatizations the government hopes to carry out, such as that of energy company Eletrobras and the unlikely sale of postal company Correios.

The three men, however, admitted that deep reforms are hard to pass during the electoral year.