The Brazilian Scene – XX

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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

Bolsonaro's statements, live on television on July 29, about the possibilities of fraud in the electoral system operated by electronic ballot boxes, was yet another demonstration of weak arguments; actually a supplementary operation of creating fake news

The Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which has three STF ministers (Moraes, Fachin and Barroso) reacted promptly through technical notes, contesting the suspicions raised. Later, the president himself accepted the fact as non-existent evidence.

It is an immense battle, now clearly drawn, opposing sectors of the judiciary power against the presidency of the republic regarding the opportunity and legitimacy of next year's elections. This battle alludes to a parallel reality, typical of lawfare, in constant elaboration by militant Bolsonarism. The latter is not interested in the ineluctable empirical reference to the legality and efficiency of the electronic voting machine, but in the search for suspicions and suspected hypothetical causes of the probable defeat of the situationism in the presidential election.

The Military Party, with almost 2022 of its cadres ensconced in executive positions, remains clinging to the same suspicions, at least on the part of its top leaders (Minister of Defense and Chiefs of the Three Weapons). An indication of a crisis, from now until October XNUMX, exasperating the minds of the Judiciary and the Executive; the National Congress being a sounding board for the different positions, in search of a reckless and almost impossible conciliation.

The taking over of the Civil House by the Centrão has many functions. For the more optimistic democrats, it is about civilian control over military aggressiveness, supporting Bolsonaro's disturbing positions, in favor of institutional continuity through normal elections in 2022. For the pessimists, it is about a conciliation with clientelism and patrimonialism so expensive to conservative elites in parliament, aiming to save a president with less and less public support; as well as an attempt to coalesce with military elites, without changing the rules of the game. The coming months will determine the decisive factors in this process.

Still on the succession agenda, Congress has to explain to the STF the referrals related to the Electoral Fund (R$ 5,7 billion) in the LDO, while Bolsonaro waves with a cut of R$ 2 billion. Controversy that directly involves party leaders, always eager for resources.

As for the relocation of ministries and related bodies, it should be noted that the division of the Ministry of Economy removes approximately 85% of its resources from the “new” Ministry of Labor and Social Security. An electoral measure, which aims to concentrate resources under the control of Onix Lorenzoni.

Furthermore, it is worth noting yet another public humiliation by Bolsonaro of his deputy, General Mourão; as well as pressure from the Executive on the Federal Senate, with a view to appointing diplomats, judges and directors of regulatory agencies, involving people without specific and proven capabilities. It is the State being assaulted by old and resistant clientelism.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB and a consultant for Empower Consult. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).

 

 

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