Bolsonaro is a ‘threat’ to Brazil. Rights Group for Democracy.
With his attacks on Brazil’s Supreme Court and election system, President Jair Bolsonaro is “threaten[ing]democratic governance,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned on Wednesday.
Last week, during an Independence Day rally, the far-right leader warned the Supreme Court, which has ordered an inquiry into him, that it would “suffer the consequences” if it did not back down.
In the run-up to the 2022 elections, he renewed his attacks on the country’s electronic voting system.
“President Jair Bolsonaro is endangering democratic governance in Brazil,” the rights group stated in a statement on September 15, which is International Democracy Day.
“He is pursuing efforts to intimidate the Supreme Court, warning that he may try to cancel the 2022 election or deprive Brazilians the opportunity to elect their leaders in other ways, as well as infringing critics’ freedom of expression.”
HRW stated that Bolsonaro’s recent utterances fit into a “pattern of acts and statements that appear to be geared to undermine fundamental rights, democratic institutions, and the rule of law in Brazil.”
Two days after launching a scathing attack on Brazil’s federal institutions in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Sao Paulo, President Dilma Rousseff attempted to backtrack, claiming that his remarks were made “in the heat of the moment.”
Despite this, HRW noted that “he did not withdraw from his unfounded argument that Brazil’s voting system is unreliable.”
Bolsonaro, whose popularity is at an all-time low, is attempting to re-energize his base in the face of a sagging economy, high unemployment and inflation, and a slew of probes aimed at him and his inner circle.
The president is also being chastised for his management of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, which has claimed the lives of over 587,000 people.
Bolsonaro, who endorsed Donald Trump’s accusation of election fraud in the United States last year, warned in January that the chaos that erupted in Washington when Trump refused to concede may happen again in Brazil or be “worse,” as he sought to throw doubt on the country’s voting system.