Brazil's Army has rescheduled its usual annual drills due to the Oct. 2 presidential elections, it was announced. Maneuvers usually carried out during the last quarter of each year have been moved ahead in order to be completed before September.
According to press reports, senior military officials fear political polarization might unleash on a “Capitol Hill scene,” in reference to actions undertaken Jan. 6, 2021 by supporters of former US President Donald Trump, who stormed the building to prevent Joseph Biden's win from being certified.
Faced with that threat, 67 major military maneuvers have been rescheduled and all military personnel must be available around the clock.
According to Folha de Sao Paulo, the Army's top brass fear how supporters of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro's might react if their candidate loses the elections or even fails to advance to a runoff. The newspaper also spoke about uncertainty about the more Bolsonarista military police.
Folha also cited an interview months ago with former Security Minister Raul Jungmann, who depicted the worst scenario imaginable: Bolsonaro is not re-elected, then he blames the electronic voting system for alleged fraud and calls for the cancellation of the elections. Then his more radical followers, among them policemen and truckers. would clash with protesters of the opposition. Then the governor of the state where the incident occurs asks the federal government for help, but Bolsonaro refuses to send the armed forces and asks the Supreme Federal Court (STF) for help and a serious constitutional impasse unfolds.
But such a hypothesis is considered very unlikely, according to military documents Folha claimed to have accessed. The newspaper also recalled what happened with the ”coup demonstrations by the president on September 7 [which] did not unleash violence despite threats of the truckers who were in Brasilia.”
Bolsonaro being a former Army captain, he has filled his administration with both active and reserve military officers. Hence, the automatic association between the current Government and the Army. Folha recalled the “turbulent time of General (Eduardo) Pazuello at the Health Ministry, and the exemption he obtained after breaking the military code by participating in an act of support to Bolsonaro.” From a political point of view, it is believed most of the Army is of Bolsonarista allegiance.
Brazil's general elections are scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. If a runoff is needed, it would be held Oct. 30. All polls broadly favor former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Datafolha's last survey said Lula would get 48% of the votes against Bolsonaro's 22%.