On Thursday (26), Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court (TSE, in Portuguese) resumed the ineligibility judgment of former President Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party), in a case of abuse of political and economic power during the celebrations of the bicentenary of Brazil’s independence, on September 7, last year. The session ended with two votes in favor and one against making Bolsonaro ineligible.
Minister Benedito Gonçalves, the case’s rapporteur, started the session by voting to make Bolsonaro ineligible. He was followed by Floriano Marques. Raul Araújo disagreed and voted for maintaining Bolsonaro's eligibility.
Gonçalves suggested that Bolsonaro and his vice at the time, General Walter Braga Netto (Liberal Party), should pay R$ 425,640 (over US$ 86,000) and R$ 212,820 (over US$ 43,00), respectively. “It was proved there was the practice of serious acts both from the point of view of prohibited actions and abuse of power,” said the rapporteur.
Bolsonaro’s defense says that September 7, 2022, cannot be mistaken for last year’s electoral campaign but as a scheduled event of the then president. Gonçalves refused the thesis.
“It is impossible to adopt an allegation saying the events were restricted. The place where the events happened was a crucial strategy to make the election rally an extension of the official event.”
After that, Raul Araújo rushed to Bolsonaro's defense and said “There is no proof of the execution of any action prohibited by Brazil’s electoral law.”
Minister Floriano Marques emphasized the complicity of Braga Netto, who “agreed and acted to execute the acts,” said him.
Bolsonaro has already been considered ineligible by the TSE. On June 30, the court formed a majority to convict the former president of abuse of political power and misuse of the media. The process referred to a meeting Bolsonaro held at the Planalto Palace with foreign ambassadors when he questioned the Brazilian electoral system. The sentences are not cumulative.
Bolsonaro's judgment at the TSE will resume next Tuesday (1).
Regarding accusations of abuse, both Bolsonaro and Braga Netto face allegations of having abused political and economic power, as well as improperly using the media. They are accused of attending official events related to the bicentenary of Brazil’s independence on September 7, last year, in Brasília and Rio de Janeiro. These events were financed by public money and broadcast by TV Brasil, the country’s official TV channel.
During these celebrations, Bolsonaro was involved in electoral campaign activities that appeared closely related and parallel to presidential official events. The former president is already facing ineligibility in another case, also brought by the Democratic Labor Party, due to a meeting in which he criticized the electoral system, making this trial the first of its kind that the Bolsonaro-Braga Netto ticket faces.
Edited by: Nadini Lopes e Nicolau Soares