Military candidates are not so numerous

When Brazilian voters head to the polls on October 7, they will face an unprecedented situation: two military presidential candidates on the same ballot – former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro and Firefighter Cabo Daciolo (“cabo” means corporal, in Portuguese. In Brazil, the fire department is considered a branch of the military).

The last time the country had multiple military candidates for the presidency, there were no elections – it was during the military dictatorship.

Over 1,100 candidates this year have declared to be in the military (either in active service or retired) – more than ever before in absolute numbers. However, we can’t truly say that there is a wave of candidates in uniform, according to data from the Superior Electoral Court. Less than 1 candidate for every 24 politicians running for office – a rate that is not much bigger than in past elections.

</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-8110" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2-1024x683.png" alt="A military wave in Brazilian politics? Not so fast Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil's presidential elections, shows a sword during a rally in Curitiba" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2-1024x683.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2-300x200.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2-768x512.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2-610x407.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-VSpa2.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just over 4 percent of all candidates for a congressional seat are in the military (disclaimer: those who declared being a &#8216;public servant&#8217; or &#8216;congressmen&#8217; as their occupation were accounted for). While the rate increases slightly for the state lawmaker races, it hasn&#8217;t been over 5 percent in the past 12 years. As a matter of fact, the rate of such candidates has gone down from 2006.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr class="" /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-8112" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7-1024x271.png" alt="A military wave in Brazilian politics? Not so fast Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil's presidential elections, shows a sword during a rally in Curitiba" width="1024" height="271" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7-1024x271.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7-300x80.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7-768x204.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7-610x162.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-e9Sn7.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is also important to mention that such candidates are not exactly electoral juggernauts &#8211; exceptions aside, such as far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who was the best-voted congressman in Rio de Janeiro, with 464,000 votes. Mr. Bolsonaro, however, was only one of six congressmen from the military. At the state level, only 12 were elected out of over 1,000 lawmakers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of course, the rate varies from state to state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Maranhão, military candidates to the State Congress amounted to less than 1 percent in 2006 and 2010. In the last two elections, they jumped to 3 percent of the total. In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, candidates from the barracks have become more frequent, going from 3 to 6 percent of the total pool of candidates. However, in Pernambuco, they went from 8 to 3.85 percent. In Roraima, the rate went from 5.4 to 2.3 percent.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr class="" /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-8111" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE-1024x312.png" alt="A military wave in Brazilian politics? Not so fast Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil's presidential elections, shows a sword during a rally in Curitiba" width="1024" height="312" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE-1024x312.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE-300x92.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE-768x234.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE-610x186.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/export-WWWbE.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h2>Rising influence</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is true, though, that the Brazilian military has never been as influential in democratic times as it is now. They have made their way into the presidential cabinet and are calling the shots in Rio de Janeiro’s federal intervention.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although it is a federal intervention, not a military one, the truth is that President Michel Temer gave the task of improving public safety in Rio to the army general Walter Braga Netto. In one of his first acts in office, Braga Netto named another general, Richard Nunes, as Rio’s new top security official.

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BY Marcelo Soares

Marcelo Soares is a Brazilian journalist specializing in data journalism and reader engagement.