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Brazil Manifesto Tries to Suppress Bolsonaro Ahead of Elections

Brazilians flooded the law school of the University of São Paulo to hear a manifesto denouncing the brutal military dictatorship and calling for a speedy restoration of the rule of law.

That was in 1977. On Thursday, nearly 45 years after that day, thousands of people will gather on the same stage to read two of his documents inspired by both new manifestos of the original letter to the Brazilians is expected. Defend the country's democratic institutions and electronic voting system, which far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked in the run-up to re-election.

Neither document names the incumbent, but analysts say says that it is very clear who they are directed at.

They underscore widely held concerns that Bolsonaro may follow in the footsteps of President Donald Trump, who rejects election results and tries to cling to power. In a country only decades into democracy, the specter has encouraged hundreds of thousands of people, even those who had previously refrained from turning their heads, to sign the letter. Not only did he refuse to sign, he downplayed the initiative.

"We are in danger of a coup, and civil society must stand up and fight it to guarantee democracy," read a 1977 letter and Thursday. Lawyer Jose Carlos Diaz, who helped write two of his letters, said: , told the Associated Press.

The first of a new letter written by a law school graduate has received over 880,000 signatures since it went online on July 26. Among them are musicians such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, prominent bankers and executives. and a presidential candidate. Former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading all polls ahead of the October elections, is one of them.

Already one of his documents, published in his August 5th newspaper, did not receive much public attention, but a political analyst told his AP that it was says it is more important. It is endorsed by an association representing hundreds of companies in the banking, oil, construction and transportation sectors.

According to Carlos Melo, a professor of political science at Inspar University in São Paulo, corporations are typically reluctant to take public political stances, but receding democratic norms can It seems that he was concerned that it would have a negative impact on

"The novelty is that sectors that have remained neutral or have been in some way favorable to the president also signed up because they thought they themselves were in danger." He added Melo. ``Democracy is important to the economy.''

Bolsonaro's approach to democracy has come under scrutiny since he took office, largely because a former army captain has ruled over his 30-year dictatorship. This is because they have persistently glorified the government. Earlier this year, he met with Hungarian autocratic leader Viktor Orban and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

For more than a year, Bolsonaro has claimed that electronic voting machines are susceptible to fraud, but he has provided no proof. At one point, he threatened that the election would be suspended if Congress did not approve a bill introducing printing of ballot receipts.

He began to express that he wanted the military to be more involved in monitoring the election, and last week army officials visited the election authority's headquarters and inspected the voting machine's source code. Bolsonaro alleges that some high-ranking officials are working against him.

Armed Forces representatives inspect coding of electronic voting machines that will be used for elections, at the Source Code Inspection Department of the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 3, 2022.
Military representatives inspect the coding of electronic voting machines. increase.

When Bolsonaro launched his election campaign, he called on his supporters: Crowds in the streets for the 7th of September celebrations for Independence Day. On that day last year, tens of thousands of people rallied at his command, and Bolsonaro told them that only God could remove him from power. He threatened to plunge the nation into institutional crisis by declaring that he would no longer listen to Supreme Court justices. He later backed off, saying his comments were made in the heat of the moment. Yes, said Mello.

Since last year, election officials have vigorously opposed allegations against the voting system. The high-ranking official, who is also a Supreme Court judge, has repeatedly made statements in his defense. Behind the scenes, they are working overtime to recruit allies in Congress and the private sector, but many have been reluctant to repeat public statements.

visited. After Bolsonaro summoned foreign ambassadors to the presidential palace and lectured them on the supposed vulnerabilities of electronic voting. Since then, both congressional leaders and the attorney general, who are seen as Bolsonaro supporters, have expressed confidence in the system's reliability.

With the United States participating, the State Department released a statement the day after the ambassadors' meeting, calling Brazil's electoral and democratic systems "a model for the world." At a meeting with regional defense ministers in Brazil's capital Brasilia in July, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the military should perform its duties responsibly, especially during elections. said.

The letter, read Thursday, might have been a dry exercise otherwise relegated to academia, but it resonated with society. Recent TV stations have shown clips of artists reciting pledges of democracy.

Bolsonaro has downplayed his concerns and repeatedly dismissed the manifesto.

"You don't need a small letter to defend democracy and to enforce the constitution," the president told politicians in his allies on July 27.

Yet rhetoric is widespread, even among some of Bolsonaro's allies, two of his ministers, speaking on condition of anonymity, told his AP.

Ministers said Bolsonaro was justified in rallying his supporters to the streets, but the way he expressed himself could lead people to believe he was inciting violence. They also said Bolsonaro's impetus and violent reaction undermined their efforts to maintain peace between the regime and other institutions.

Bolsonaro's party has distanced itself from allegations that the election could be in jeopardy. The Republican leader sought out the electoral court president to vouch for his confidence in the voting system, the party's vice president, Augusto Rosa, told AP.

It will be a tough fight for Bolsonaro. More than half of the respondents polled by his Datafolha poll firm said they would not vote for him under any circumstances. However, support has recently increased due to falling unemployment, lower gas prices and increased welfare spending. Some polls show da Silva is down to his single-digit lead in the first round. A close race would make pre-election promises to honor results more appropriate.

Independent political analyst Thomas Traumann said he believed the industry-led manifesto was Brazil's most important document since the 1988 constitution.

"There will be people defending democracy. I haven't seen it since the dictatorship," Trauman said by phone. "It is very important to isolate the coup at this time."