Brazilian magistrate Carmen Lúcia Antunes from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) has found former President Jair Bolsonaro guilty of abuse of power. This decision adds to the majority opinion in favor of stripping Bolsonaro of all his political rights for a period of eight years, effectively barring him from running for any elected office or holding positions in the public administration.
I want to state that I fully support the rapporteur, Antunes announced as she began reading her vote. Her decision aligns with the three other judges who have previously found Bolsonaro guilty of abusing power during the electoral campaign that brought progressive leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to power.
The TSE reached a 4-1 majority in favor of condemning Bolsonaro for having questioned the reliability of the electronic ballot box system with false information during a meeting with ambassadors in July 2022, three months before his defeat to Lula da Silva.
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Antunes referred to the vote of Judge Benedito Gonçalves, the rapporteur of the case, who advocated for convicting Bolsonaro based on a meeting he held with around fifty foreign ambassadors at the official presidential residence on July 18, 2022. During the meeting, Bolsonaro sought to discredit the electoral system and cast doubt on the impartiality of the judiciary while he was seeking re-election.
According to the charges, this meeting was part of Bolsonaro's fierce campaign against the electoral system and constituted both abuse of political power, prohibited conduct, and informational disorder as well as improper use of public property and media, as he even ordered the state television to broadcast the event.
Although the majority of four votes out of a total of seven has been established with the position of Magistrate Antunes, any member of the TSE still has the opportunity to alter their opinion until the end of the trial and the official proclamation of the result.
Once Antunes concludes her justification for her vote, Kassio Nunes Marques, a judge appointed by Bolsonaro to the Supreme Court and TSE, known for his ultraconservative stance, will have to express his opinion. There are speculations that Marques may request more time to analyze the case, which would suspend the process for 60 days.
If Nunes Marques delivers his verdict, the final vote will be cast by Magistrate Alexandre de Moraes, who was vehemently attacked by Bolsonaro and the far-right during the electoral process that led to the victory of the current president, Lula.