The ex-president is playing his future at the end of this trial. Jair Bolsonaro, who claims to be innocent, is being prosecuted for attacking electoral justice and having criticized, without proof, the reliability of electronic voting, a few months before the elections won by his left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The former head of state (2019-2022) had announced on Wednesday that he would not appear before the judges of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) in Brasilia. He travels to Porto Alegre (south) for a series of political meetings.
Accusations of electoral fraud
In a speech in July 2022 at the presidential residence of Alvorada, and broadcast on public television, Bolsonaro had declared before diplomats that he wanted to “correct flaws” in electronic voting with the “participation of the armed forces”, without providing the slightest evidence of his allegations. For these remarks, the 68-year-old ex-army captain could be declared “ineligible” for public office for eight years. The prosecution is prosecuting him for “abuse of political power and improper use of the means of communication”.
Throughout his campaign, he had waved the risk of fraud, stoking the anger of its most radical supporters who on January 8, just days after Lula took office, attacked the seats of the executive, legislative and judicial powers in Brasilia. Striking scenes that had recalled the ault led, two years earlier, by supporters of former US President Donald Trump on the Capitol in Washington.
“There was no criticism or attack on the electoral system. I gave a sober presentation on how elections work in Brazil,” Bolsonaro told reporters on Wednesday. On CNN Brazil, he asked the judges to render a “fair judgment”. If the court does not render its decision by Thursday, as seems likely, the deliberations can continue on June 27 and 29. Even beyond.
The former head of state has made few public appearances since taking office. returned to Brazil at the end of March after a three-month stay in the United States, but he held meetings with his Liberal Party, the majority in Parliament. On Wednesday, Mr. Bolsonaro said he “did not know” whether he would again run for public office, noting that for that he would have to “keep” his political rights. “We are not going to panic in the face of the outcome that will come (…). We want to stay alive, making our contribution to the country,” he said on Sunday.
Involved in fifteen cases
He had lost with only 1.8% difference in the second round against Lula. Right-wing and far-right parties are even stronger in parliament than they were under his tenure, posing a daunting challenge to the left-wing president, returning after two terms (2003-2010). The former leader is not at the end of his legal torments. He faces about fifteen procedures before the electoral court.
He is also targeted by the Supreme Court in five cases, notably for the January 8 attacks, and faces prison sentences. Since his return from the United States, he has been heard by the police on three occasions: for the violence in Brasilia, for a case of jewelry offered by Saudi Arabia, some of which would have entered Brazil irregularly, and for falsification alleged anti-Covid vaccination certificates. The Lula government is keeping a distance from the affairs of the far-right leader and has made no recent statements on the subject.