Bolsonaro urges the Brazilian Senate to indict the Supreme Court judges
President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday called on the Brazilian Senate to indict a Supreme Court judge – a largely symbolic move that shows he has little desire to ease tension with the judiciary.
João Marques, Cabinet Secretary to the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, confirmed to The Associated Press that he had received a request from the President to indict Judge Alexandre de Moraes. Pacheco must now decide whether it is justified to open an investigation that could lead to impeachment. On Tuesday, Pacheco made comments to reporters that were widely interpreted as a signal that he did not see such reasons.
Bolsonaro has been angry at the Supreme Court rulings since the pandemic began, when judges ruled that mayors and governors – not just the president – have the power to impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. The feud has recently come to a head, with the president being targeted by two investigations into his relentless assaults on the integrity of the country’s electronic electoral system.
“The judges Alexandre de Moraes and Luís Roberto Barroso have for a long time exceeded constitutional boundaries with their actions,” wrote Bolsonaro on August 14 on Twitter. He cited Article 52 of the Brazilian Constitution, which says that judges can be charged with crimes and eventually removed from office.
The president’s 18-page impeachment motion was ultimately aimed only at de Moraes and not at Barroso. It claims de Moraes conducted investigations with partisan and anti-democratic biases while serving as both an investigator and judge, and censored freedom of expression.
Never before has the Senate relied on Article 52 against a Supreme Court judge and evidence suggests there is no will in this case, said Paulo Calmon, professor of political science at the University of Brasilia. Still, the request serves to keep Bolsonaro’s base mobile, he said. “This has a symbolic effect on his base as it shows that the president is combative and always ready to react vigorously,” said Calmon.
With its approval ratings plummeting, Bolsonaro has insisted that the country’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud – but without producing any evidence. This has given cause for concern that it may lay the groundwork for rejecting the election results. Recent polls have shown that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is set to challenge the incumbent next year, would practically win a runoff election.
The electoral court announced on August 3 an investigation into Bolsonaro over his comments on the electoral system, and de Moraes included the president in a Supreme Court investigation into allegedly fake news.
On August 13, de Moraes also ordered the arrest of Roberto Jefferson, an ardent ally of Bolsonaro and president of the Brazilian Labor Party, for allegedly threatening democracy on social media.
“If there is no printed vote and no public vote count, there will be no elections next year,” Jefferson said in a video posted Aug. 10, echoing previous comments by Bolsonaro. His social media posts often feature him wielding firearms.
In a statement, the party denied any wrongdoing by Jefferson, saying his detention amounted to persecution and censorship.
In Bolsonaro’s impeachment motion, he also denied having committed any crimes investigated against him and said he had exercised “the fundamental right to freedom of thought.” The House of Commons voted against the proposal to pass printed ballot papers last week. Some of Bolsonaro’s allies have pleaded with him to put aside his dissatisfaction with the vote and Jefferson’s imprisonment in an attempt to end opposition to the Supreme Court and get his legislative agenda back on track. Their influence was limited.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)