Explaining Brazil #162: Coup or No Coup

Struggling in the polls, President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to ignore next year's election results. But is the risk of democratic rupture real? Or is the far-right simply crying coup?

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.

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