Brazil: 500,000 signatures in defense of democracy against Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil: 500,000 signatures in defense of democracy against Jair Bolsonaro

A petition to “defend democracy” in Brazil has garnered more than half a million signatures, including from high-profile employers, in response to President Jair Bolsonaro’s criticism of the institutions and electoral system.

This “Letter to Brazilian Men and Women in Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law,” created by members of the University of Sao Paulo Law School (USP), surpassed 546,000 signatures as of Saturday noon, the second month of presidential elections.

“Great danger to democratic normality”

“We live in a moment of great danger to democratic normality, a risk to institutions, with hints of disrespect for the results of the elections,” believe the authors of the text, which was also signed by former Supreme Court justices. and many artists, like the famous singer Chico Buarque.

“Baseless and unproven attacks call into question the electoral process and the democratic rule of law that Brazilian society fought so hard to achieve. Threats against other powers (…), incitement to violence and institutional ruptures are unbearable,” the petition continues, which President Bolsonaro never names.

Support major employers’ organizations

The head of state, in office since early 2019 and a candidate for a second term, continues to criticize the electronic voting system that has been in force in Brazil since 1996 and fuels fears that he will not recognize the result of the presidential election in the event of a defeat. Recent polls show him as a big loser against left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010).

The USP petition has gathered the signatures of important business associations such as the Bankers Association (Febraban) and the very influential Industry Association of Sao Paulo (Fiesp). In 2016, Fiesp had played a leading role in the mass mobilization that had favored the ousting of leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

This institution’s joining the petition is seen by many observers as a reversal after the business community backed Jair Bolsonaro in his 2018 election, particularly drawn to current Economy Minister Paulo Guedes’ ultra-liberal speech.

hacking attempts

The far-right president made no secret of his displeasure. “Who is against democracy in Brazil? We are for transparency, legality, we respect the constitution. I didn’t understand this petition,” he responded Thursday during his weekly live appearance on Facebook. On Friday, he sarcastically tweeted his own “democracy letter” with this succinct message: “Through this letter, I declare that I am pro-democracy. Signed Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of Brazil”.

The USP petition is to be read publicly at a ceremony that could culminate in a demonstration on August 11 in Sao Paulo. According to local media, the website, which collects signatures, has been the target of several hacking attacks.