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Brazil: Bolsonaro 1-0 down at TSE trial

Wednesday, June 28th 2023 - 10:11 UTC
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Six magistrates, including Chief Justice Alexandre De Moraes, are still to vote Thursday on whether to disenfranchise Bolsonaro or not Six magistrates, including Chief Justice Alexandre De Moraes, are still to vote Thursday on whether to disenfranchise Bolsonaro or not

Case rapporteur Benedito Gonçalves Tuesday voted in favor of convicting former President Jair Bolsonaro in the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) trial for abuse of political power and undue use of the media, Agencia Brasil reported.

The proceedings were then adjourned and will resume Thursday with the votes of Chief Justice Alexandre De Moraes and Justices Raul Araújo, Floriano de Azevedo Marques, André Ramos Tavares, Cármen Lúcia, and Nunes Marques. If three of them join Gonçalves's view, Bolsonaro would be disenfranchised for eight years, which would leave him out of the 2026 presidential race.

The TSE is judging a lawsuit in which the PDT accuses Bolsonaro of abuse of political power and undue use of the media. The PDT is contesting the legality of the meeting the former president held with ambassadors last July at the Alvorada Palace to attack the electronic voting system.

In his rationale, Gonçalves understood that Bolsonaro spread false information to discredit the voting system, using the physical structure of the Alvorada Palace. In addition, the event was broadcast on the social networks of the former president and by TV Brasil, a public television station of the Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC).

“The evidence produced points to the conclusion that the first investigated [Bolsonaro] was fully and personally responsible for the intellectual conception of the event object of this action,” said the rapporteur.

The magistrate said that Bolsonaro spoke about alleged vote manipulation in the 2020 elections and allegations of lack of auditing of electronic ballot boxes. “Each of these narratives has a fallacious character,” Gonçalves added.

He also validated the inclusion in the process of the so-called “coup draft,” a document found by the Federal Police during a search and seizure conducted at the home of former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, which suggested the decree of a state of defense at the TSE to contest Lula's victory in the 2022 elections.

“The trivialization of a coup, merely symbolized by the draft that proposed to intervene in the TSE and slept without causing disquiet in the residence of the former Minister of Justice, is a serious unfolding of unfounded attacks on the electoral voting system,” Gonçalves argued while pointing out that Bolsonaro was making “coded speeches” to find solutions “within the four lines of the Constitution” to prevent what he called the manipulation of the outcome of the ballot.

“The first investigated [Bolsonaro] ostensibly violated the duties of president of the Republic, inscribed in Article 85 of the Constitution, in particular, to ensure the free exercise of the instituted powers and political rights and internal security, given that he assumed unjustified direct antagonism with the TSE, seeking to victimize and discredit the competence of the technical body and the smoothness of its ministers to bring the performance of the TSE to absolute international discredit,” he added.

The rapporteur also voted for the acquittal of General Walter Braga Netto, candidate for vice president on Bolsonaro's ticket.

Bolsonaro's defense claimed that the meeting had no electoral bias and was held as an “institutional counterpoint” to suggest changes in the electoral system. According to lawyer Tarcisio Vieira de Carvalho, the meeting took place before the election period, on July 18, when Bolsonaro was not an official candidate for the 2022 elections. Hence, only a fine should be applied but not disenfranchisement, the counselor argued.

(Source: Agencia Brasil)

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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