Electing Lula is imperative

Image: Lukas Hartmann
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By HERICK ARGOLO*

The path traced by Bolsonarism and the imperative to elect Lula

The path that Bolsonaristas are tracing is evident. And it is necessary to publicize it, so that there is full awareness of what is at stake in these elections.

 

First step: wall the STF

Jair Bolsonaro already has two of the 11 STF ministers appointed by him, Nunes Marques and André Mendonça. In 2023, Ricardo Lewandowski and Rosa Weber will be compulsorily retired.

If Jair Bolsonaro is president, he will nominate two more, having four out of 11, close to half. As Bolsonarist parliamentarians, added to the centrão, can reach a quorum in Congress to approve the impeachment of a STF minister, they will try to blackmail ministers to come to their side.

Another, parallel path is already being announced. Approve an amendment (which they have a quorum to make) to increase the number of ministers in the STF from 11 to 15 (Cf. https://noticias.uol.com.br/eleicoes/2022/10/07/eleito-senador-mourao-sugere-mudancas-no-stf-alem-do-aumento-de-cadeiras.htm).

With that, Jair Bolsonaro won't even need to pull two more ministers to his side. It will have the two ministers that it will appoint in 2023 + 4 new ministers after the approval of the PEC. That is, eight out of 15. Majority to do what they want.

 

 Second step: new constitution

Some Bolsonarist leaders recurrently defend the creation of a constituent assembly (cf. https://congressoemfoco.uol.com.br/amp/area/congresso-nacional/lider-de-bolsonaro-promete-plebiscito-por-nova-constituinte-em-breve/).

One means of opening a constituent process could be a plebiscite. For the processing and approval of which, it is enough to have the presidency of the houses of Congress, 1/3 of the parliamentarians of one of the houses that present it and a simple majority for approval. Bolsonarism, with Jair Bolsonaro elected, will have all of this. A plebiscitary campaign, based on the Bolsonarist narrative, has already proven to have popular appeal. With a majority of the STF, the declaration of constitutionality of the process would be guaranteed.

A constitution can always be changed and improved. But the objective, in this case, is not to deepen democracy. It is the implantation of a fascist regime within the order.

In fact, with the elected configuration of Congress, it would not even be necessary to approve a Constituent Assembly. The Constitution could be mutilated from within Congress, through regular procedures.

Mourão himself, now a senator, proposed several times, as a candidate for vice president, a new Constitution, without even prior approval by a constituent (cf. https://valor.globo.com/google/amp/politica/noticia/2018/09/13/mourao-defende-nova-constituicao-sem-assembleia-constituinte.ghtml)

 

Third step: taking over state institutions

With a walled-in STF, a dominated Congress and an altered or mutilated Constitution, Jair Bolsonaro would open the way to dominate all state institutions. Fascist regimes have historically tended to transfer political power from the judiciary and the legislature to the armed forces, police and armed militias.

This has already been the path flirted with by Jair Bolsonaro since 2019. With the qualitatively new situation, if re-elected president, he tends to be much more successful than in the first term.

What to do? Electing Lula is imperative

With Lula elected, the Federal Executive will serve both to stop the advance on the STF, and to divide, in Congress, the Bolsonarist wing and the centrão, which always tends to be attracted, physiologically, towards the presidency of the Republic. Bolsonarism's plans will be disrupted or, at least, postponed to a future clash, giving more time for Brazil's democratic and popular forces to recompose themselves.

In other words, the fundamental question in the election of Lula or Bolsonaro is whether we will make democracy resist or whether we will walk in a straight line towards a fascist regime.

*Herick Argolo Public defender and member of the Popular Consultation.

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