Brazil faces potentially dangerous unrest around the country’s upcoming presidential vote, a senior election official has warned.
Speaking at the Wilson Center in Washington DC on Wednesday, Superior Election Court Secretary Edson Fachin said the upcoming elections were likely to cause “more serious” unrest than the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising, when rioters violently stormed the US capital fueled by the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen.
Brazil’s controversial presidential elections in October are expected to pit current President Jair Bolsonaro against former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
“Brazilian society will put a mirror before it on October 2. If it wants a war of all against all, or if it wants democracy,” said Fachin, who was asked to comment on preparations and challenges ahead of the vote. .
He outlined several steps the election commission has taken to improve the transparency and legitimacy of voting, which will take place electronically and in person at polling centers. The Organization of American States (OAS) has agreed to be an observer in the Brazilian elections, he said.
Fachin also warned that election authorities would not accept interference from the federal government or the armed forces.
“May Electoral Justice fulfill its mission, and we [fulfill it]. Brazilian justice will not bend. Anyone,” he said.
Incumbent President Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned the country’s electoral process and particularly criticized the use of electronic ballots – a system that was introduced in 2000. He also called on the military to carry out a parallel “public” count of the votes.
The president’s remarks, first made in August 2021, sparked a series of protests in the country against the electoral system.
Last week, his son, politician Flavio Bolsonaro, also refused to rule out the possibility of a similar episode on January 6 in Brazil, in an interview with Estadao newspaper.
“How can we control it?” he said. “People saw problems in the American electoral system, were outraged, and did what they did.”
There is, however, no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 US presidential election.