Bolsonaro, Another Leader Who Joins The Strategy Of "electoral Fraud" While He Falls In The Polls Before Lula

There is no place for a competitive election if there is no possibility of defeat. Jair Bolsonaro resists the idea of ​​a possible electoral setback in the presidential elections next year. To try to change the trends set by polls, which places former president Lula da Silva 30 points above, the president is advancing with a strategy of denunciation without evidence about an alleged “fraud” coordinated by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

For that reason, the TSE of Brazil opened a administrative investigation against the president for his smear campaign against the electronic voting system, established two decades ago, and asked the Supreme Court to include him in another process on the dissemination of false news. For his part, Bolsonaro reacted by declaring that he does not accept “intimidation.”

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“This is an election that Bolsonaro cannot lose. He prefers to cause chaos to continue in government and avoid ending up in prison,” he tells elDiario.es George Avelino Filho, PhD in Political Science from Stanford University and professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo.

The strategy includes installing the threat of electoral fraud based on an alleged lack of confidence in the electronic vote that the country adopted in 1996. The Brazilian president seeks to recover the vote on paper through a constitutional amendment that is pending in Congress, in which proposes that for the presidential elections of 2022, the old ballot system be incorporated, in parallel to electronic voting, which it considers the only one “really auditable.”

For specialists, this argument has no foundation whatsoever. The way in which Bolsonaro accuses the electronic voting machines of malfunction not only seeks to delegitimize the electoral process, but also to increase distrust in democracy.

Claudio Goncalves Couto, doctor in Political Science from the University of Sao Paulo and coordinator of the Master’s degree in Public Policy at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, explains to this medium that “the Brazilian electoral system does not have any type of structural problem that justifies Bolsonaro’s attacks What he wants to do is discredit the institutions of Brazilian democracy. Not just the electoral process. “

Bolsonaro says that electronic voting machines are not reliable. “This is inappropriate given that a series of tests have already been carried out with these ballot boxes, carried out by various political parties and their technicians, without ever showing any type of vulnerability. So Bolsonaro fights against a ghost, a scarecrow that simply does not it is based on reality “, says Claudio Goncalves Couto.

But this is not new. Already as a deputy, in the 90s, he denounced an electoral scam against him. “Bolsonaro is strategically playing a position that he already had. He did not invent it now,” explains Avelino Filho.

Staying in power is his most urgent goal, but not the only one. What worries the president the most is the possibility that an investigation against him will advance.

For Avelino Filho, “Bolsonaro is in a situation in which he cannot lose an election. If he loses, he will be immediately prosecuted, either for the immense number of deaths left by the administration of the pandemic or his involvement in other corruption cases such as in the purchase of vaccines “.

But in addition, it can be read as a drowning slap in a moment of extreme political loneliness in which he urgently needs the political stamp of a party to present himself as a candidate, something he does not have for now.

This electoral strategy cannot be understood without the Trump factor. “Bolsonaro’s position is the same, it is destructive and he plans to sell his defeat dearly. If there is a possibility that he will end up in jail, first he will generate total chaos,” explains Avelino Filho.

But mistrust in electoral systems is not just a strategy of the former Republican president. Voting discredit has become an increasingly common practice in Latin America. We saw it in Peru with the complaints of Keiko Fujimori against Pedro Castillo, the 2019 elections in Bolivia that ended with the resignation of President Evo Morales by force and even the accusations of López Obrador to the electoral authorities for the low participation of the plebiscite on Sunday .

For specialists, the best way to weaken this position is to give the debate with arguments in the public space. “It is necessary to demonstrate with evidence that the current system is reliable and does not have demonstrable vulnerability. Public authorities, whether of the legislative or judicial power, can demonstrate that the electronic voting system in Brazil will not allow any type of fraud,” says Goncalves Couto.

The Electoral Justice authorities have already done so. The monitoring in real time by the TSE of the statements that Bolsonaro made in a live on social networks “was a very useful tool for the press itself to disseminate what is really true about the polls and thus contradict the president and demonstrate that the fraud is actually what he is looking for, “explains Cuoto.

For Avelino Filho, if Bolsonaro installs the belief of a lack of credibility in the elections, “that suspicion is accumulated with others such as that in politics they are all thieves, they are all corrupt and that scenario of political discredit ends up benefiting him” .

The chances of an impeachment process against Bolsonaro advancing, according to specialists, are slim. The closer the elections get closer, the less chance the impeachment will advance.

First, because politicians do not want the public debate to be dominated by this issue. Second, because this situation could be used by Bolsonaro to build the victimization narrative.

The combination for an impeachment to advance is an economic crisis, some political scandal that can be used as a trigger for demonstrations, low approval and the withdrawal of support by the vice president. Bolsonaro still retains the support of a quarter of the total electorate and also the political support of the vice president, Hamilton Mourao.

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