LatinNews Daily - 01 August 2022

BRAZIL: One-third of electorate thinks coup possible

A Datafolha opinion survey circulated in Brazil’s local media on 30 July showed that more than one out of three voters believe that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro will try to steal the presidential election in October.


The fact that more than one-third of the electorate believes it possible for the incumbent president to stage a coup underscores the fragility of the October general election and explains why authorities and western democracies have been so concerned. 

  • The Datafolha poll shows that 37% of those polled believe Bolsonaro will try to stage a coup attempt, and 56% believe that his attacks on the electoral system are meant in earnest.
  • Simultaneously, the percentage that trusts the electoral system fully or somewhat increased from 73% in May to 79%.
  • Both numbers show just how polarised the election has become. Nearly half of those polled say they stopped discussing politics among family and friends.
  • Bolsonaro trails leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) by around 10 percentage points on average in opinion polls.
  • Over the past fortnight, celebrities, politicians and business leaders expressed confidence in the electoral system and signed pro-democracy manifestos. The US too has rebuked Bolsonaro, saying Brazil’s voting system is a model for the rest of the world.
  • Meanwhile there are signs that Bolsonaro and his camp are not 100% convinced of victory in October, or at least are taking precautions. His supporters in congress have proposed a constitutional amendment to make former presidents life-long senators, thereby granting them immunity to law suits and imprisonment. O Globo newspaper, in an editorial, said the proposal “is so far-fetched that it’s hard to believe it has even been considered.”
  • Luciano Bivar, head of the political party União Brasil, yesterday dropped out of the presidential race but the chances of the party supporting Lula remain slim.
  • Datafolha interviewed 2,556 people on 27-28 July and the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Looking Ahead: Tensions are set to intensify in coming weeks, with a pro-democracy event organised by University of São Paulo’s law department (which was behind one of the manifestos), scheduled for 11 August – as well as the Bolsonaro-led protest against the supreme court and the military parade on Independence Day (7 September).

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