A loss by President Jair Bolsanaro could cause chaos. But experts say a coup is unlikely.
The first round of Brazil’s presidential election is set to take place on Sunday, with current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, or Lula as he’s commonly known, as the frontrunners of 11 candidates. The campaign has mimicked the 2020 US election in some crucial ways, with Bolsonaro claiming that the election is rigged and that the only way his opposition can keep him out of power is by stealing the election.
Lula has a clear lead in the polls with Bolsonaro trailing by 14 percentage points according to a Datafolha poll released Thursday. Bolsonaro, though, has repeatedly pushed bogus election fraud claims, much like former president Donald Trump did in the lead-up to the 2020 election. Though there’s no evidence for Bolsonaro’s claims of election fraud, it may not matter to some of his most die-hard followers. Bolsonaro’s base of supporters believe he shouldn’t accept the results of the election if he doesn’t win, Oliver Steunkel, a professor at the School of International Relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil, wrote in Foreign Affairs.