Opinion

Why a Bolsonaro power grab remains a long shot

The president's recent messaging suggests that he plans to ignore the 2022 election result if he loses. However, with popular support dwindling, a power grab seems to be a remote possibility

bolsonaro power grab
Pro-Bolsonaro demonstrator asks for “military intervention with Bolsonaro in power.” Photo: Fred Magno/O Tempo/Folhapress

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is not exuding confidence. Mingling with supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasília last week, he said that “either we have clean elections in Brazil or we don’t have elections at all.” 

This threat comes as Mr. Bolsonaro increasingly seeks to stoke the baseless notion that Brazil’s elections are riddled with fraud. He has asserted, for example, that Congressman Aécio Neves rightfully defeated Dilma Rousseff in 2014, when he did not. Even though Mr. Neves openly questioned the results of the election that he lost, he and his former running mate have both publicly...

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