Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he saw three alternatives for himself: prison, death or victory in next year’s presidential election. As he stated, “the first option is not an option.” “No man will threaten me,” he said.
Brazil’s presidential elections will be held on October 2, 2022. The latest polls show the advantage of Jair Bolsonaro’s rival, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Former leader of the country in April this year obtained passive electoral rights. In 2019, the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered his release from prison, where he spent over a year and a half.
“I have three alternatives for my future: prison, death or victory,” Bolsonaro said Saturday in a meeting with evangelical leaders. He added that the “first option” was not an option. “No man will threaten me,” he said.
Protests in over 400 cities
66-year-old far-right Bolsonaro, hoping to be re-elected, is losing support, among other things, due to the defeat in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In late July, protests took place in over 400 Brazilian cities against his policy of opposing lockdowns and other precautionary measures that could contain the increase in infection. Bolsonaro’s opponents once again took to the streets, demonstrating under the slogan: “Let’s not take off our masks, let’s take off the president!”
The indigenous peoples of the country are also protesting against the president. On Friday, several hundred of them gathered in front of his residence to defend the lands of their ancestors, which – under the law – may be taken from them. The decision in this case is to be made by the Supreme Court, protests were also held there. Brazil is home to around one million indigenous people belonging to several hundred ethnic groups. One fifth of them live in the Amazon.
The areas occupied by the Indians are attractive to large enterprises in terms of agriculture and forestry development. Bolsonaro consistently stands on the side of big business.
Challenging electronic voting
Regarding next year’s presidential elections, Bolsonaro challenges the current electronic voting system (introduced in Brazil in 1996) and threatens not to accept the results. He is also calling for a return to traditional paper-based voting, arguing that electronic voting cards are prone to fraud, the Reuters agency said.
Earlier, the Brazilian parliament rejected the president’s bill on electoral changes, which included, inter alia, elimination of electronic voting.
Luis Roberto Barroso, head of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, said Wednesday that “the current system of electronic voting is a sufficient guarantee of fairness.” He considered that the discussion of accepting printed ballots was a sheer “waste of attention”.
Invitation to participate in the rally
During the Saturday meeting, Bolsonaro invited evangelical leaders to support him in a nationwide demonstration scheduled for September 7. As the Reuters agency recalled, the mass of Evangelical voters (in Brazil, with a population of over 200 million, the percentage of Protestantists reaches 22 percent) was of key importance for Bolsonaro’s victory in the 2018 presidential election.
Main photo source: Joedson Alves / PAP / EPA