President Jair Bolsonaro left the country during the final stretch of the presidential campaign to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London and the UN General Assembly in New York. Part of the reason for the move was to dispel the impression that he is an international pariah, a goal he failed to accomplish by anyone’s measure.
Mr. Bolsonaro was lambasted by the British press for turning a moment of mourning for the recently-deceased monarch into an electoral stunt. First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro even made use of the occasion to participate in sponsored posts on social media plugging the clothing brands she wore for the ceremony.
Moreover, injunctions issued by the Superior Electoral Court have barred Mr. Bolsonaro from using footage from his trips to London and speech at the UN General Assembly in his campaign ads. And while these decisions won’t stop the Bolsonaro camp from sharing images on messaging platforms, it will certainly narrow its reach by not allowing him to broadcast them on television and radio.
The full bench of the electoral authority will today decide whether to keep or lift the ban on the use of images in London. Benedito Gonçalves, Brazil’s electoral ombudsman, wrote in his opinion that Mr. Bolsonaro used public structures — to which he has access as president — for political campaigning.
“That could hurt the equality of conditions between candidates,” Justice Gonçalves wrote.
In his injunction barring the use of UN images by Mr. Bolsonaro, the justice talked about “an evident modus operandi of the candidate for re-election” to “use in political ads situations created by his status as head of state.”