Bolsonaro: Move to new party “well underway”

The Brazilian president is expected to join a party named Patriota

Published in 18/06/2021 - 12:04 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said during his Thursday (Jun. 17) live broadcast on social media that his talks have greatly advanced regarding his joining a new party. On Wednesday (16), he met with allied Congress members at the Alvorada presidential palace to discuss the topic.

“I’m going to have to have a party. I’d have solved this issue already, but it really needs to be talked through. Party legislation can be complicated, parties usually have owners. But my move to a party, a small one, is well underway,” Bolsonaro stated.

The president is expected to join Patriota (“Patriot”), a party currently with a mere six lower house representatives. At the Senate, the party is represented by Flávio Bolsonaro, Senator from Rio de Janeiro, the president’s son and one of the negotiators of the president’s affiliation. If this change indeed materializes, however, its representatives in Congress should see a sharp increase in number, with dozens of pro-government parliamentarians, most of whom members of the PSL.

“I’m sure many representatives will go, but we can’t talk about it, we can’t make a decision on the change, until the president makes his announcement, and also in within the party window, which is next year. During that period, many will certainly migrate, and we’re looking forward to seeing the president change,” said federal representative Mayor Vitor Hugo, of the PSL, former government leader in the lower house, who also attended the live broadcast. The so-called party window is a 30-day period during which Congress members can change parties without losing their mandate. This always takes place in an election year, six months before the vote.

Small party

Patriota has scheduled a national convention for June 24, in Brasília, where it should deliberate on statute changes and whether the party may appoint its own presidential hopeful.

Elected in 2018 as a member of the Liberal Social Party (PSL), Bolsonaro left the political party in November 2019. At the time, he unveiled the creation of a new party, Aliança pelo Brasil (“Alliance for Brazil”), for which a minimum 500 thousand signatures should be garnered across at least nine states. The enterprise, however, did not succeed, and the president took to seeking affiliation into an existing party.

During his live broadcast, Bolsonaro stated that, if he runs for reelection next year, he should prioritize the election of allies in the Senate, where he would like to have a more solid base. “Those are 27 chairs that could undergo some change next year,” he said.

The president downplayed his move to a small party, with little resources in its party fund and, he pointed out, an air time of just 25 seconds.

“The party election broadcast has become weaker and weaker each year. People keep themselves informed through social media, and not by the party election broadcast,” he noted.

Printed vote

President Jair Bolsonaro once again advocated the introduction of printed vote in the 2022 elections. In his view, if what he terms “auditable ballot” is not available at the polls, one side may not accept the results “and cause a countrywide commotion.”

“We’ll respect Parliament. Otherwise, we’ll have doubts in the elections and we could have a huge problem in Brazil. One or other side may not accept the results and cause a countrywide commotion.”

The issue is being discussed in Congress in the form of a constitutional amendment bill brought forward by Federal Representative Bia Kicis, with Federal Representative Filipe Barros as rapporteur, both from Bolsonaro’s former party PSL. The measure stipulates that votes must be printed out for auditing. The rapporteur’s vote is likely to come out this month at the lower house.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Claudia Felczak / Nira Foster

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