Four opposition parties filed three separate lawsuits at the Superior Electoral Court requesting Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro be investigated for disparaging the country’s electoral system at a meeting with dozens of foreign ambassadors.
They accuse Mr. Bolsonaro of premature campaigning and of illegal use of public media (the government’s official channel broadcast the event).
On Thursday, Brazil’s chief electoral justice Edson Fachin gave the president five days to give his version of events — although he can choose not to exercise his right to do so.
There is controversy around whether these lawsuits could be filed at this stage, as the president hasn’t officially joined the 2022 race yet. That will only happen on Sunday, when his Liberal Party confirms his presidential nomination in a national convention.
Justice Fachin himself said lawsuits against candidates should be filed after that point. Still, given the “unprecedented nature” of the case and its “relevance,” the justice said he “understands all parties should say their peace on the issue, including the Electoral Prosecution Office.”
The lawsuits also request that the electoral courts order the removal of the broadcast from social media platforms. A video of the encounter on the government’s official channel has already over 261,000 views. In a statement, YouTube said it will not take down the content as the company understands it does not violate its internal policies.