Bolsonaro could be on his way out as Brazilians head to the polls — unless there’s a coup

Brazil seems to be on the verge of voting out its extreme-right president Jair Bolsonaro in this Sunday’s first-round election. His opponent is former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Just over a decade ago, Brazil seemed to have finally “taken off”, appearing on the verge of fulfilling its potential as “the country of the future”.
However, much like South Africa, the past decade has seen declining living standards, unending corruption scandals, dramatic rises in the cost of living, unemployment, inflation and attacks on the very fabric of its democracy. Brazil is a country that went in only a few short years from being generally respected, if not admired, to an international pariah state.
Now, the country is on the verge of voting out its extreme-right president Jair Bolsonaro in this Sunday’s first-round election. Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the man set to win, is a familiar figure. He served two terms and went from leaving office in 2010 with a historic approval rate of 84% to spending close to two years in prison on trumped-up corruption charges that have since been struck down by the country’s Supreme Court.
In a historic comeback, Lula now leads all the polls by double digits and stands a more than a decent chance of winning a first-round electoral victory.
That is, if the coup that Bolsonaro has been threatening since he arrived in office does not take place or fails. Bolsonaro is currently, with the tacit and explicit help of his supporters in the military and police, questioning the validity of Brazil’s internationally heralded electoral system.
The US Senate has issued strong statements in support of Brazilian democracy in a rare break from the country’s historic support for coups in the region. This also follows the 2016 “congressional coup” that removed Dilma Rousseff from office as Brazil’s president and helped usher in the disaster the country finds itself in.
If the election does indeed go to a second round, the attacks on democracy, coup threats, disinformation and political violence will only intensify, as Bolsonaro will do all he can to cling to power, although his campaign has been rather low-energy of late, and he has even suggested he will leave the country if Lula wins (and to avoid the many criminal charges awaiting him).
Environmental crimes
It was easy to predict that Bolsonaro’s presidency would prove an utter disaster, not only for Brazil, but for the world, given the environmental ...