With President Jair Bolsonaro trailing in polls and regularly claiming that Brazil’s voting system is plagued by fraud, all eyes will be on the military and the country’s deeply divisive October elections. It is directed to a role that can be fulfilled.

The far-right president, a former army captain, has fervently sought military support and advocated for it as an election referee, raising concerns that he might seek armed intervention if he loses.

However, experts say that while Bolsonaro has the support of some in the military, the agency is highly unlikely to be involved in anything resembling a coup.

Bolsonaro, who openly praised Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, brought the military into politics on an unprecedented scale, recruiting more than 6,000 active duty and retired military personnel to his administration’s posts, and appointed Hamilton Army reserve all the way up to Vice President Murao.

Its military-political mix was on full display on Wednesday when Brazil celebrated the 200th anniversary of its independence from Portugal and the 67-year-old commander-in-chief presided over a combination of a military parade and an election rally for his supporters.

Carlos Fico, an expert on military history at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said, “Bolsonaro believes that building close ties with the military and displaying military prowess strengthens him.

– Enlistment –

Bolsonaro, who is chasing left-leaning former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) ahead of the Oct. 2 elections, has never presented concrete evidence of electoral fraud.

But he is trying to join the army in a crusade against Brazil’s electronic voting system.

The military regularly provides logistical support for elections, but the president is pushing to expand it to a new level, arguing they play a refereeing role.

When the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) gave in to his wishes by inviting the military to a special Electoral Transparency Commission, Bolsonaro welcomed the move.

“The military is responsible and credible in the eyes of the public and is not going to play a mere decorative role in this election,” he said.

“They will do the right thing.”

The commission’s nine military members, following Bolsonaro’s line, submitted a list of about 100 items questioning the vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines that Brazil has been using since 1996.

Ultimately, however, the Tokyo Stock Exchange concluded that most of the criticism was “opinion,” denying allegations such as the existence of a “dark room” to tally votes.

– “Political Theater” –

But experts say military support for Bolsonaro has its limits.

“It is highly unlikely that[the military]will play any role other than its constitutionally established role,” said Reserve General Maynard Santa Rosa, who served as secretary of strategic affairs under Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has close ties to top military leaders such as Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira, and has picked former defense minister Walter Braga Netto as his vice-presidential candidate, but military historian Fico believes this is the case. The two said they had “no army under their command.” .”

“There is no general movement by active-duty military personnel concerned about validating electronic voting systems,” he said.

Fico added that security forces’ election-related disruptions were likely coming from the police, a group “heavily influenced by ‘Bolsonaroism’.”

Bolsonaro’s campaign pressured him to tone down rhetoric about the electoral system for fear of alienating moderate voters.

But an aide close to the president, speaking on the condition of anonymity, admitted it was unlikely Bolsonaro would listen.

“It’s part of his persona. It’s a political drama,” the aide said.

“Without it, he wouldn’t have been Bolsonaro.”

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