Bolsonaro 'threatens democratic system' in Brazil, says HRW

President Jair Bolsonaro during the ceremony of the Marechal Rondon Award for Communications, at Palácio do Planalto, in Brasília, on September 14, 2021 – AFP

Human rights NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused President Jair Bolsonaro, on Wednesday (15), of “threatening the democratic system” in Brazil, with its frequent attacks on the Supreme Court and the electoral system.

In a statement, HRW states that the president “tried to intimidate the Supreme Court, indicating that he could cancel the 2022 elections (…) and violated the freedom of expression of critics of his administration”.

Also according to the NGO, these behaviors “are part of a pattern of actions and declarations that seem destined to undermine fundamental rights, democratic institutions and the rule of law in Brazil”.

Bolsonaro’s campaign against the STF, which opened several investigations against him and his surroundings, and against the credibility of the electronic voting system, reached its peak on September 7, Independence Day.

In front of thousands of followers who took to the streets to support him in Brasília and São Paulo, the president announced that he would reject the decisions of the STF minister Alexandre de Moraes, classified the electronic vote as a “farce” and fraudulent, adding that “ only God” could pull him out of power.

“President Bolsonaro, a fervent supporter of the Brazilian military dictatorship, is increasingly belligerent against the democratic system of separation of powers,” said HRW Americas Director José Miguel Vivanco in the same statement.

On Thursday of the same week (9), Bolsonaro stepped back and assured that his attacks and threats were pronounced “in the heat of the moment”.

“However, he did not withdraw his unfounded accusation that the Brazilian electoral system is unreliable, a statement he reiterated on September 7th,” recalled the NGO.

Threatened by inflation, unemployment and the chaotic management of the pandemic that brought down its popularity, Bolsonaro has for months been discrediting, without proof, the electronic ballot box, used since 1996 in the country, and asking for the printed vote to return.

According to polls, Bolsonaro would be largely defeated in the 2022 elections by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has not yet confirmed his candidacy.

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