January 25, 2022

Brazil’s Bolsonaro accuses Supreme Court justices of partisanship

Far-right president says two justices favour his left-wing rival, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, before October’s election.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has accused two members of the Supreme Court of taking sides in this year’s election and favouring left-wing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro has railed at justices Luis Roberto Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes for months over rulings against his policies and investigations into the president, including one for spreading fake news related to COVID-19.

Lula, who was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, spent a year and a half in jail on corruption charges that were annulled by the Supreme Court last year, allowing him to run again in this year’s election.

Bolsonaro and Lula are expected to face off in a polarised election in October, though neither have formally declared they will run.

“Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes want Lula to be president,” Bolsonaro said in a television interview on Wednesday. “OK, they might not want to vote for me, but do they want to return to office the man who robbed the nation for eight years?”

Barroso last month ruled on requiring vaccination proof from all travellers arriving in Brazil, a measure contrary to the views of vaccine-sceptic Bolsonaro. De Moraes oversees five investigations of the president, including one into his comments falsely associating coronavirus vaccines with AIDS.

The latest comments by Bolsonaro, who has faced widespread criticism and protests for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, came as polls show Lula with a clear lead over the far-right leader in advance of the upcoming vote.

Lula would get 45 percent of the votes against 23 percent for Bolsonaro if the election were held today, according to a Banco Genial/Quaest Pesquisas poll released on Wednesday.

Lula would win a runoff second-round vote against Bolsonaro by 54 percent versus 30 percent, it said.

The Quaest poll showed support for both candidates slipping by 2 percentage points since the previous survey in December. Former anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, who is polling in third, also dropped one point to 9 percent of voter intentions.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva greets supportersFormer Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has criticised Bolsonaro for his handling of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic [File: Bloomberg]

As COVID-19 cases rise in Brazil with the spread of variant Omicron, the poll showed that 72 percent of Brazilians surveyed favour the vaccination of children, which Bolsonaro has opposed.

Bolsonaro’s negative rating numbers remain unchanged at 50 percent of voters who think his government is bad or terrible. Fifty-five percent of Brazilian women polled expressed that view, versus 45 percent of men.

More than 620,000 people have died due to the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, while more than 22.6 million infections also have been reported.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of those surveyed think Bolsonaro has done a bad job fighting inflation, which hit a six-year high of more than 10 percent in 2021, government data showed on Tuesday.

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