Brazil's Federal Superior Court (STF) Chief Justice Luiz Fux Wednesday replied to President Jair Bolsonaro's comments from Tuesday's Independence Day celebrations saying that disrespecting the Judiciary's decisions were a crime of responsibility that must be analyzed by Congress.
“No one will close this Court. We will keep it standing, with sweat and perseverance,” said Fux in a harsh response to repeated attacks by Bolsonaro on the body and also on the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), particularly against Justices Alexandre de Moraes and Luís Roberto Barroso, who sit on both tribunals.
“The STF will also not tolerate threats to the authority of its decisions. If contempt for judicial decisions occurs at the initiative of the Chief of any of the Powers, this attitude, in addition to representing an attack on democracy, constitutes a crime of responsibility, to be analyzed by the National Congress,” Fux went on.
“Offending the honour of ministers, inciting the population to propagate hate speech against the institution of the Supreme Court and encouraging non-compliance with judicial decisions are undemocratic, illicit and intolerable practices in respect of the constitutional oath that we all took when we took a seat on this Court,” Fux added, although he never mentioned Bolsonaro by name.
“Unfortunately, it has been increasingly common for some movements to invoke democracy as a pretext for promoting undemocratic ideas. Let us beware of these false prophets of patriotism, who ignore that true democracies do not allow the people to be set against the people or the people against their own institutions,” Fux elaborated as he called on all Brazilians to “not fall into the temptation of easy and messianic narratives, which create false enemies of the nation.”
The STF's Chief Justice went on: “Let us beware of these false prophets. Everyone knows that those who propagate the discourse of 'us against them' do not propagate democracy, but the discourse of chaos.”
The judge's remarks came a day after Bolsonaro continued his verbal onslaught in speeches to hundreds of thousands of his supporters, who rallied in the capital Brasilia, Sao Paulo, and other cities.
The Supreme Court has ordered investigations against Bolsonaro for his claims that Brazil’s electronic voting system was rife with fraud, which was denied by judicial experts. Critics have accused the former army captain of planning to contest the results of the presidential election next year, in a move similar to former US President Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has long tried to emulate.
Recent polls show Bolsonaro would lose to former left-wing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, should the latter choose to seek the presidency. However, those studies were from before Tuesday's rallies, which seemed to at least cast some doubts on Lula's overwhelming lead. At any rate and without paper voting, Bolsonaro has threatened not to recognise the result of next year’s elections. While Bolsonaro may have gained a short-lived boost in popularity after Tuesday’s demonstrations, they would do little to improve his chances of re-election next year, according to most analysts.
“In the end, what counts is reality,” Naue de Azevedo, a Brasilia-based political scientist, told Al Jazeera. “And the reality today is one of inflation, overpriced food and fuel, energy crisis and an increase in the population in poverty and social vulnerability.”