Speed Reads

brazil's big lie

Brazil's Bolsonaro is trailing in the polls. Critics say he could be plotting a military coup.

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, who is running for a second four-year term and is trailing badly in the polls, has consistently raised concerns about election security. According to The New York Times, Brazil's military has begun echoing his claims.

A survey conducted last month showed Bolsonaro polling at around 27 percent in the first round, well behind former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as "Lula," at 48 percent. If neither candidate wins 50 percent of the vote outright, they will proceed to a runoff to be held four weeks later, on Oct. 28.

Ahead of the 2018 election, one poll showed Lula, who left office in 2010 with an approval rating of 80 percent, leading Bolsonaro in first-round polling. Lula achieved this lead despite the fact that he was disqualified from running by a 2017 corruption conviction. Brazil's supreme court has since thrown out the conviction and restored Lula's political rights.

Edson Fachin, Brazil's top election official, said concerns about election fraud have been "artificially created by those who want to destroy the Brazilian democracy," while Bolsonaro claims he just wants a "clean, transparent, safe election." Bolsonaro has suggested that the military should conduct an independent vote count on the day of the election, a move critics fear is an attempt to lay the groundwork for a coup.

Brazil suffered a military coup in 1964, resulting in a dictatorial regime that lasted until 1985. Bolsonaro has spoken positively of the dictatorship in the past.