Jun 28, 2023, 4:06pm EDT
South America

Insights: Why Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro could be barred from office

Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro.
REUTERS/Diego Vara

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The News

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose supporters ransacked government buildings earlier this year after he lost his reelection bid, could be barred from holding office over his efforts to sow mistrust in Brazil’s electoral system.

Brazil’s top electoral court has been holding a trial over whether Bolsonaro committed an abuse of power in his efforts to overturn his loss to Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. On Tuesday, one justice voted to bar him from office until 2030, and proceedings are expected to resume Thursday.

We’ve curated insights and analysis on what this means for Bolsonaro’s political future.

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  • Things aren’t looking great for Bolsonaro, according to reporters covering the case. Reuters reported that “the outlook appears increasingly bleak" for Bolsonaro, while The Guardian said that political observers believe a guilty verdict is “assured” but likely to be delayed if a judge wants more time to consider evidence. Bolsonaro himself recently said: “The signs aren’t good but I’m relaxed.”
  • The case focused on Bolsonaro summoning foreign diplomats to his residence before the election to make unfounded claims about the voting system. In making his case for voting against Bolsonaro, the justice, Benedito Gonçalves, put those actions into context of other attacks Bolsonaro made on the country’s elections, including a live broadcast questioning the security of the ballot boxes. — Folha de S.Paulo
  • Allies of the former president are already seeking ways to undo a potential court-imposed ban on Bolsonaro holding political office. Federal lawmakers are working on a bill that would grant amnesty to all politicians who committed electoral crimes last year, but chances of it passing remain uncertain. — O Globo