The work of the Armed Forces on the commission established by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to increase the transparency of elections has led members of the Supreme Courts, including the Federal Supreme Court and the Electoral Tribunal itself, to consider the call for military participation in the fellowship.
The initiative of then-TSE chief, Minister Luis Roberto Barroso, came last year amid President Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) attacks on electronic voting machines and questions from Planalto allies against the Brazilian electoral system.
The armed forces have always assisted the Supreme Electoral Tribunal with the logistics of elections, but for the first time officially became part of a commission of this kind.
Barroso’s idea was to bring the military closer to the electoral process, thus gaining their support in defending the electronic voting system and against Bolsonarista’s attack regarding election security in the country.
However, in private conversations, Supreme Court justices estimate that trying to obtain an antidote had the opposite effect and became a bullet in the foot: Rather than increasing the credibility of the case, it provided a tool for the armed forces to further amplify Bolsonaro’s rhetoric against the Brazilian electoral system.
Even the military, in closed conversations, made a similar analysis in the sense that the Supreme Court’s call for elections may have been a mistake.
Military personnel reported embarrassment at formal participation in the operation. In their opinion, it inevitably ends with the politicization of the forces.
When he invited the armed forces, Barroso hoped that an IT admiral would be the name indicated for integrating the Elections Transparency Commission.
The admiral’s name has not been revealed. According to the interlocutors, this soldier in the TSE was considered a reference in the region and was even invited by the minister to join the group.
However, according to reports, the military said the approval of the then defense minister, General Braga Neto, was necessary.
Braga Netto also belongs to the PL and is today the leading candidate to be Bolsonaro’s deputy in the re-election campaign.
Initially, the head of the volume said at the time that he would analyze the possibility of releasing the name Barroso had chosen, and later informed him that he would send several options so that the TSE could choose.
In the end, Braga Neto sent only the name of General Heber Portela, the head of the army’s cyber security, and the court was forced to accept him as a member of the commission.
Wanted, Barroso defended the decision to invite the military to participate in the TSE commission. He stated that troops are already involved in distributing ballot boxes in hard-to-reach places, and that uniforms were involved in designing the electronic ballot box.
He added, “The armed forces are part of the committee [de transparência] Among the 12 equally respected sectors. Accordingly, Minister Barroso considered that the participation of the military is natural to increase the transparency of the electoral process,” said the judge through his advice.
But at the end of April, a statement issued by Barroso regarding the armed forces further heightened the tension between the two countries. The judge stated in a lecture that the institution was “directed” to attack the electoral process “to discredit it”.
Without mentioning Bolsonaro, he said there was an effort to move the military into “the retail business of politics” and that this would be a “tragedy” for democracy. The defense minister responded and, in a note, classified Barroso’s statement as “irresponsible” and a “serious crime.”
During the Electoral Transparency Panel’s work, the defense led a series of actions that court ministers viewed as an attempt to disrupt the electoral process. Al Fardad sent out nearly a hundred questions about the performance of the ballot boxes that the electoral court deemed excessive.
In addition, on Thursday (5), the Ministry of Defense sent a letter to the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Edson Fachin, requesting announcing the questions raised by the armed forces about the voting system.
In February, the TSE published on its website a document containing answers to a series of questions from the armed forces, which were raised in December. A new document has been sent but it is kept confidential.
In the letter he sent to Fashin, the Minister suggests that “the alleged documents [não sigilosos] relevant” to the Transparency Committee. The general also noted in his letter that he had not had an agenda with Fashin, although he had met the TSE chief on at least two occasions since taking office.
The defense justifies that the document is an attempt to publicize the Army’s questions, something the community is demanding.
Questions to the court’s Electoral Transparency Committee were prepared by Army Cyber Security, led by Heber Portela.
He and his boss, General Guido Amin Naves, head of the Army’s science and technology division, were at the Defense Department for a meeting this week with Bolsonaro, off the official Planalto agenda. The meeting was accompanied by Braga Neto.
According to reports, questions that were sent to the Supreme Court of Commerce were discussed. The meeting took place hours before Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira met STF chief Luis Fo.
In the evening of the same day, the defense issued a memorandum stating that the agenda of the meeting was “the cooperation of the armed forces of the electoral process”, in addition, it stated that the institution was “in a permanent state of readiness” to comply with their constitutional duties.
This was not the only attempt by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to seek support from the armed forces in holding the elections.
During Barroso’s tenure at the ICC, former Bolsonaro Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva was invited to be the court’s director general, the court’s most important technical position. The invitation was negotiated between Edson Vaschen and Minister Alexandre de Moraes, Barroso’s successors at the helm of the TSE.
The general even accepted the invitation, but later withdrew due to health problems.
Barroso says he did not participate in the selection of General Fernando Azevedo for the position of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
The judges’ containment strategies failed to contain Bolsonaro’s attacks on electronic voting machines. The president continued to question the security of the elections, claiming that the legitimacy of the elections depended on the presence of the military in the process.
In his weekly live broadcast on social networks last Thursday (5), he maintained a threatening tone to the Turkish Electoral Court and said that his party, PL, would hire a private company to audit this year’s elections.
The request for disclosure comes after Bolsonaro raised doubts about the integrity of the elections and made coup hints.
Since the elections, Bolsonaro and his allies have tried to discredit the Brazilian electoral process by alleging fraud, but they have not provided any evidence for this.
In July 2021, the president staged a live broadcast on social media in which he, with a plethora of lies, made the biggest attack on the voting system to deliver what he described as substantiation of his claims. At the time, I only brought up theories that had been circulating on the internet for years and had previously been rejected.
Pressured from its base, the House of Representatives came to vote a few days later, in August, on the Presidential Election Commission that had set up print electronic voting, but the measure was defeated. 79 votes are required to approve an amendment to the Constitution.
At the time, the president of the chamber, Arthur Lera (PP-AL), an ally of Bolsonaro, went so far as to say that the president assured him that he would respect the outcome of the conference and would not insist on the issue. repeatedly. Bolsonaro has not kept his alleged promise, and Lira remains his ally.
Asked about the matter, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) said President Jair Bolsonaro’s questioning of the electoral system “has no legitimacy” and “could actually hamper the smooth running of institutions.”
“Of course, all institutional and institutional questions, questions that have no just cause, have no evidence or legitimacy, are questions that do not contribute, and therefore can impede the good progress of institutions,” Pacheco said, the President of the Republic was in practice on Friday (6).
Specifically regarding the appointment of the scrutiny, the Senate President stated that the initiative is legitimate, but that as long as it does not work on vote counting and recounts, it is within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Electoral Court.
“It is clear that no other private entity or institution has the right to participate in vote counting and recounting. This is the role of electoral justice. Obviously, the limits that are clearly not vote counting, which, I repeat, is up to electoral justice.”