Meet Brazil’s new military lawmakers

. Oct 09, 2018
brazil military lawmakers Members of the military enjoyed an enormous electoral success

As the final numbers from voting stations are consolidated, we can now definitively call the legislative races for both the national Congress and state legislatures. The results show that 67 military candidates – members of the Armed Forces, military police or firefighters, either retired or in active service – won their elections and will occupy seats in parliament. In 2014, that number amounted to only 18.

This number is based on the professions declared by each candidate upon registering with the electoral courts, as well as their nom de guerre. The number could be even higher, as some retired officers did not list their military professions or use any reference to the military in their candidacies, meaning they could slip through the net.

</span></p> <hr /> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-large wp-image-9639" src="" alt="Meet Brazil's new military lawmakers" width="1024" height="683" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among the retired generals who won election is Sebastião Roberto Peternelli, from Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s Social Liberal Party. General Peternelli openly defends the 1964 coup and subsequent military dictatorship. He was recently appointed as the head of Brazil&#8217;s National Indigenous Foundation (Funai), but he never took office after several </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">protests</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from indigenous groups.</span></p> <h2>Electoral juggernauts?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In my </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">last article</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> about military candidates for office, I mentioned that these politicians have never been electoral juggernauts. That may have changed, however. Some of these 67 names figured among the best-voted candidates in their states. Lieutenant Colonel Luciano Zucco, also of the Social Liberal Party, was the best-voted candidate for the state house in Rio Grande do Sul, with 166,747 votes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also among the top best-voted candidates was the police officer Kátia Sastre, who killed a criminal outside of a school in Suzano, a city in the outskirts of São Paulo. She used footage of her killing the man on campaign ads.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In São Paulo, far-right candidate Major Olímpio finished the senatorial race in first. His rhetoric is on a par with &#8211; and is perhaps even more radical than &#8211; presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s. He wants to lower the age of legal majority to 12 and wants to scrap all gun control. He got 9 million votes for the Senate this year, after eight years in the state house and four years in Congress.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of course, it is impossible to say how much of these results are due to the fact these candidates are military men and women &#8211; and how much is due to their association with far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro &#8211; who himself received almost 50 million votes. He proved to be the ultimate kingmaker in this election, as the races for governor in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro have shown.

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Marcelo Soares

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

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