Brazil: After his electoral defeat, can Jair Bolsonaro end up in jail?

The political panorama in Brazil took an expected but hard-fought turn after the presidential elections this Sunday -October 30- when the left-wing leader, Inácio Lula da Silva, obtained the support to return to the Planalto Palace with 50.9% of votes compared to 49.1% reached by Jair Bolsonaro.

After two days without any official statement, the current head of state broke the silence and, although he did not openly accept that he had been defeated, he did give the go-ahead for the transition process to begin with the incoming administration. The far-rightist said that he received the results “with indignation and sadness”, but that he would continue to comply with “the commandments of the Constitution.”

With Lula in power (whose inauguration is expected in January 2023), discussions are beginning to be heard about the future of the current president and how viable is the possibility that he will be prosecuted and could end up in prison. “I have three possibilities for the future: go to jail, be assassinated or win,” said the conservative in the middle of last year, when his possible candidacy was already beginning to appear.

“But you can be sure that the possibility that he will go to prison does not exist,” added the person who represented the Liberal Party (PL) and who saw his continuation in office as almost certain. Although processes against him may take years, some analysts do not rule out the possibility that they will begin to take course.

150 requests for ‘impeachment’

The alleged spread of false information was one of the points that focused him in the eye of criticism, especially regarding the coronavirus pandemic (which claimed the lives of almost 690,000 people throughout Brazil). 150 impeachment requests were presented to Congress, mostly related to Covid-19; however, these had no progress.

The risk regarding its continuity in the Palacio de la Alvorada has not had any repercussion so far, since the decision has been reviewed by two “actors” who have only maintained it as a threat. One of them is Attorney General Augusto Aras, who has refused to file any criminal complaint; as well as the one who heads the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, who has the “power” to start or not any dismissal process.

The question about what will happen after Jair Bolsonaro delivers the presidential flames revolves around the loss of privileges. Along these lines, he could begin to be judged by ordinary justice, but not by the Supreme Court.

Bolsonaro’s family, in the magnifying glass

The eye has also been on the businesses of the conservative family, because at the end of 2020, the prosecutor’s office in Rio de Janeiro denounced Senator Flávio Bolsonaro (eldest son of the head of state) for alleged embezzlement of public funds. The accusation rests on a suspicion that he made “ghost” contracts (when he worked as a regional deputy) and ended up receiving part of the salaries of those who did not do any activity in his office.

“When his term ends, Jair Bolsonaro will be able to respond (…) and the prosecution could open new investigations,” explains the jurist, Rogério Dultra dos Santos, from the Fluminense Federal University.

The president rejects any accusation and has come to label them as part of a “political persecution.” His complaint has taken on more force, after the portal LOU disclosed that between 1990 and 2022 he and his closest circle would have acquired 51 properties for a total of 4.8 million dollars.

*With information from AFP.

Brazil: After his electoral defeat, can Jair Bolsonaro end up in jail?