Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Friday replied to an initiative by opposition parties and movements signing a letter in defense of democracy, which they argue is under threat by the incumbent head of state who might not acknowledge electoral defeat in October.
A Charter for democracy, for what?, Bolsonaro wondered. Someone being disrespectful to democracy?, he went on Someone doing anti-democratic acts?. Someone preaching a coup?, he insisted.
Bolsonaro currently trails former President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva in all polls and would fail his reelection bid, unless his last-minute handouts and negative inflation figures make a comeback possible.
On Thursday, several opposition groups signed an open letter warning about the risk of institutional fracture and advocating for democracy. Bolsonaro refused to endorse such a document on the grounds that it implicitly campaigned for Lula, who did sign it, together with presidential candidates Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet.
The document was launched at the USP Law School on August 11, on the 45th anniversary of the launching of a manifesto against the 1964-1985 dictatorship.
Although the letter did not mention the current head of state, attendees chanted against the 1964 coup repeating the phrase Bolsonaro out!.
Among the nearly one million signatories of the democratic proclamation were former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Michel Temer.
In an interview with CNN Brazil Friday, Bolsonaro said the initiative had a political nature: they have to attack my government, they are worried about my popularity, he declared during a tour of shantytowns on the outskirts of Brasilia, where he is said to have shot a campaign spot promoting the increase of the Auxilio Brasil subsidies from R$ 400 to R$ 600 (US$ 80 to US$120), which is part of an aid package which also includes subsidies to lorry drivers.
Among other popularity-boosting measures, Bolsonaro signed a decree published Friday enabling Auxilio Brasil beneficiaries to access consumer credit worth R$ 2,000 (US$ 400).
Since the announcement of that package of kindnesses, a term used by some media, Bolsonaro's popularity has received a boost in the polls.
Last week, the Quaest polling agency published that Lula da Silva has 44% against Bolsonaro's 32%. In March, the same consultants showed Lula had 45% of voting intentions against Bolsonaro's 25%.
With Lula's stagnation and Bolsonaro's gradual progress, which may improve even more in the next weeks together with the first payments of the adjusted Auxilio Brasil, the former president's chances of winning in the October 2 first round are waning down while a runoff scheduled for October 30 seems more likely.