Elections: Bolsonaro Intensifies Attacks on Brazil's Electoral Justice on the Eve of Last Candidate Debate | International

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Jair Bolsonaro, during a rally in the city of Santos.Victor MoriyamaBloomberg

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, faces the days before the presidential election this Sunday, October 2, with all the polls against him. The nervousness is palpable in the campaign of the far-right candidate: he and his allies have intensified the questioning of the electronic ballot boxes and the electoral judges. All hopes are pinned on tonight's debate on Thursday, the last opportunity to close the gap with his rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. If that doesn't happen, the strategy is to dirty the process. Anticipating possible incidents, the Superior Electoral Court has prohibited carrying weapons during the weekend of the elections.

The most recent episode of tension between Bolsonaroism and electoral justice has arisen as a result of a report commissioned by the president's party, the Liberal, which points without evidence to possible "delays" in the vote verification procedure and the risk of manipulating the results. The Court has come out to deny the accusations and has presented them as an attempt to "generate incidents" during the process.

Of course, attentive eyes to the cleanliness of the elections will not be lacking. A hundred international observers have landed in Brazil to follow the elections. In a meeting with the delegation sent by the Organization of American States, the president of the court, Alexandre de Moraes, said this Thursday that they will ensure that the vote is "safe and reliable", without "coercion" from political groups. In addition, he has defended the use of electronic ballot boxes, highly criticized by Bolsonaro despite being used for 25 years.

Meanwhile, the current president has continued to tighten the rope. In a social media broadcast on Wednesday, he hinted that he could order the Armed Forces to close polling stations if citizens were prohibited from turning up dressed in yellow and green, his campaign colors. To launch this threat, the president made reference to false news according to which the Electoral Court would have made that decision. "Any electoral section where you cannot enter with a green and yellow shirt, will not have an election," he launched.

As he has been doing almost every day this week, Bolsonaro charged against Minister Alexandre de Moraes. The candidate accused him of wanting to destroy his candidacy. A day earlier, Bolsonaro had criticized De Moraes for authorizing the breaking of banking secrecy by one of his advisers, in the framework of a police investigation into financial operations of the presidential family. “Are you going to stop me?” He said. “Alexandre, picking on me is one thing, but going against my wife pushed all limits. Forget my wife."

In the midst of this polarized climate, with two militants from both fields stabbed to death in the last week, the Superior Electoral Court has decided that hunters, members of shooting clubs and collectors will not be able to carry weapons on election day or the day before. . The measure was proposed by De Moraes. Bolsonaro is a defender of the use of weapons for personal defense.

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The president plays the election in the debate this Thursday on the television network Balloon. It will start after 10:30 p.m., because we will have to wait for it to finish Marshland, the most watched telenovela of the season, and it can last three hours. It is the second face-to-face with Lula -the candidate of the left refused to participate in another one last Saturday due to "schedule problems"-. In the first debate, at the end of August, Bolsonaro blamed corruption during his mandate, but stumbled in his attempt to attract the female vote by attacking the journalist who moderated the meeting.

The debate will be the last chance that Bolsonaro will have to gain support. The polls indicate that the candidate on the left is around 14 points ahead of him and that he has options to close the dispute in the first round. That scenario raises the fear that he will not recognize the results. In an interview this week, the far-right said he will wait to see the result and noted that he did not see the "popular will" being considered in the electoral court. About three-quarters of their voters believe that electronic polling fraud is possible.

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