Salem Radio Network News Saturday, October 23, 2021

World

Brazil electoral court to probe Bolsonaro rallies, source says

By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s federal electoral court (TSE) is set to probe the funding of last week’s rallies in support of President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as alleged election campaigning outside the allotted legal time frame, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Bolsonaro, who is down in the polls ahead of next year’s vote, was banking on the Sept. 7 marches to fire up his base, ease pressure from the judiciary and reanimate his re-election hopes. The rallies drew large crowds and avoided the violence some feared, but few saw them as a game-changer for Bolsonaro.

The TSE’s probe is being led by the inspector general of electoral justice, Luis Felipe Salomao, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly. The investigation aims to find out who paid expenses for protesters from across Brazil to attend the rallies.

The probe comes at a difficult time for Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who has overseen the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak while grappling with rising inflation and a weak economy.

He and his supporters are angry at federal courts, which they accuse of intimidating the president and his supporters in their investigations of allegedly anti-democratic activity. Bolsonaro has also questioned the validity of next year’s election, citing unfounded cases of voter fraud.

At the rallies last week, his supporters repeated their accusations against the Supreme Court, while Bolsonaro said he would no longer follow rulings by Justice Alexandre De Moraes, who has led some of the most sensitive probes against the president and his supporters.

Bolsonaro later sought to defuse tensions, saying in a note that he never intended to attack any branch of the government.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

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