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Bolsonaro attacks Supreme Court ahead of election

January 12, 2022

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has accused two Supreme Court Justices of bias against him ahead of upcoming elections. Former leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to deny him a second term.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a ceremony at the Justice Ministry headquarters in Brasilia
Bolsonaro came to power on an anti-corruption, anti-crime platformImage: UESLEI MARCELINO/REUTERS

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused two Supreme Court Justices, Luis Roberto Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes, of being biased against him. 

What did the Brazilian president say?

"Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes want Lula to be president," Bolsonaro said in a TV interview, referring to former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"OK, they might not want to vote for me, but do they want to return the office to the man who robbed the nation for eight years?" he added. 

Da Silva, commonly known as Lula, previously served as president from 2003 to 2010. He is expected to run against Bolsonaro in October's presidential elections.

Recent polling shows Lula would handily defeat Bolsonaro in the election. A Banco Genial/Quaest Pesquisas survey released Wednesday found Lula would get 54% of the vote in the decisive second round of the election, with Bolsonaro garnering 30%.

Bolsonaro has railed against the country's electronic ballot system ahead of the election, calling it rigged against him. There are concerns that he may not concede if he loses the race.

Why are Brazilian voters expected to oust Bolsonaro?

Inflation is one of the major issues that could cost Bolsonaro a second term. Official data released Tuesday found Brazil's inflation rate exceeded 10%, the highest figure in six years.

The Banco Genial/Quaest Pesquisas poll found 73% of those surveyed believe Bolsonaro has done a bad job fighting rising prices.

The Brazilian president has also been criticized for his handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with Brazil having one of the highest domestic death tolls from the virus. Bolsonaro has railed against vaccines and lockdown policies to curb the spread of infection.

The country's indigenous and Afro-Brazilian communities have been particularly hard-hit by the virus. On Tuesday, Bolsonaro approved a decree to create a committee to fight the virus among indigenous peoples in Brazil. 

Despite Bolsonaro's skepticism of vaccines, almost 70% of the Brazilian population is fully vaccinated.

Brazil's Indigenous activists fight for rainforest

The Brazilian's president willingness to open up the Amazon Rainforest to commercial interests has also drawn criticism both at home and abroad.

Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019, has expressed admiration for the country's former military dictatorship. He has also made numerous derogatory comments towards women and LGBTQ people. 

wd/sms (AP, Reuters)