In 15 months, Brazil is scheduled to hold presidential elections amid a political environment that is as toxic as they come. President Jair Bolsonaro does not miss an opportunity to question the legitimacy of the country’s voting system — and has threatened not to let elections take place unless Congress indulges him in his crusade to bring paper ballots back to Brazil’s electronic system. And, according to one recent report, the Armed Forces have Bolsonaro’s back and would be willing to stage a coup to keep their man in power.
But is the risk of democratic rupture real — or is the Brazilian far-right simply crying coup?
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- Filipe Campante is an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is interested in political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. His research looks at what constrains politicians and policymakers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, political protest.
- A major Brazilian newspaper published alleged threats made by Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto, saying that next year’s election would be canceled unless Congress reintroduces paper ballots. He is one of Jair Bolsonaro’s most loyal advisors, writes Janaína Camelo.
- 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, writes columnist André Pagliarini.
- President Jair Bolsonaro’s opposition has held street protests demanding his removal from office. But a few things are keeping the demos from actually threatening the government in a more meaningful way. Listen to Episode #157 to learn more.
- Polls show Mr. Bolsonaro lagging far behind in the 2022 presidential race. But our sources in Brasília fear that Mr. Bolsonaro is silently, but diligently, preparing a “front to remain in power in 2022, even if he loses the election.”
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