According to Reuters, Brazil’s Federal Electoral Court (TSE) is investigating the funding of last week’s demonstrations in support of President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as suspected election campaigning outside of the permitted time limit.
Bolsonaro, who is behind in the polls ahead of next year’s election, was counting on the Sept. 7 marches to energize his supporters, relieve judiciary pressure, and resurrect his re-election chances. Although the rallies drew big audiences and avoided the violence that some had predicted, few regarded them as a game-changer for Bolsonaro.
The TSE’s investigation is being overseen by Luis Felipe Salomao, the inspector general of electoral justice, according to the source, who was not allowed to speak publicly. The inquiry will look into who funded for protestors from all around Brazil to travel to the demonstrations.
The investigation comes at a difficult moment for Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who has presided over the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak while also dealing with increasing inflation and a sluggish economy.
He and his supporters are angry at federal courts, which they accuse of intimidating the president and his supporters in their investigations of allegedly anti-democratic activity. Bolsonaro has also questioned the validity of next year’s election, citing unfounded cases of voter fraud.
At the rallies last week, his supporters repeated their accusations against the Supreme Court, while Bolsonaro said he would no longer follow rulings by Justice Alexandre De Moraes, who has led some of the most sensitive probes against the president and his supporters.
Bolsonaro later sought to defuse tensions, saying in a note that he never intended to attack any branch of the government.