Bolsonaro: “stab in the back”
7/1/2023 5:13 am
Because of allegations of alleged security flaws in the electoral system, Brazil’s ex-head of state Bolsonaro is barred from all political offices until the end of the decade. But this is not the end, he announces and wants to take action against the verdict.
Brazil’s ex-president Jair Bolsonaro has shown himself combative after the Supreme Electoral Court ruled on his exclusion from all political offices. He said he would appeal to the country’s Supreme Court. He described the electoral court’s decision to exclude him from political office for eight years for abuse of office as a “stab in the back”.
“I’m not dead, we will continue to work,” said the right-wing ex-head of state in the city of Belo Horizonte. With the judgment of the electoral court, the country is “on the way to dictatorship,” criticized the 68-year-old. But the verdict “does not represent the end of the right in Brazil”.
Five of the seven judges on the Supreme Electoral Court found Bolsonaro guilty of abuse of power after he made unsubstantiated allegations about security flaws in the electoral system before his election defeat last year. Two judges voted against convicting Bolsonaro. If the verdict stands up, Bolsonaro will not be allowed to run in the next presidential election in 2026.
The verdict relates to an appointment between the then President and foreign diplomats, which was broadcast live on television in July 2022. For almost an hour, Bolsonaro made unsubstantiated allegations about the supposed unreliability of the electronic voting machines – allegations that he repeated during the election campaign.
In October, he narrowly lost to his leftist challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a runoff. To this day, Bolsonaro has not acknowledged his electoral defeat. Supporters of the president-elect stormed the government district in Brasília on January 8, a week after Lula’s inauguration, wreaking havoc in the presidential palace, Congress and the Supreme Court. The riots were reminiscent of the storming of the Capitol in Washington by supporters of US President Donald Trump two years earlier.
“Passed the toughest stress test of the past decades”
The five judges now accused Bolsonaro of being partly responsible for the “fatal consequences” of his statements for Brazilian democracy. Justice Minister Flavio Dino said Brazil’s democracy had “passed its toughest stress test in decades”. Regarding Bolsonaro’s behavior, he emphasized: “Lying is not a legitimate tool in the exercise of public office.”
Bolsonaro is being targeted by the Brazilian judiciary for a whole series of allegations. He is suspected of being the direct mastermind behind the storming of the government district. In early May, his home in Brasília was searched over allegations of falsifying coronavirus vaccination certificates.
Contrary to custom, Bolsonaro did not take part in the swearing-in of his successor Lula on January 1. Instead, he had recently traveled to the United States, where he stayed for three months. He only returned to Brazil at the end of March.