Is Brazil facing another military coup? Society’s polarization spikes

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BRAZIL – Many indicate that the Brazilian elections this October may be the most unpredictable in history. With left-wing Lula imprisoned and the danger of “radicalism” pending, the political landscape seems to have no current suitable candidate.

According to a Brazilian specialist in Latin American affairs, Lyudmila Okuneva, a professor at the University of International Relations in Moscow (MGIMO), one of the biggest concerns for most Brazilians today is the existence of “two radicalisms”, one on the left and one on the right. The former is often associated with Lula’s pre-candidacy (even legally impossible) and the other – with the ever-increasing popularity of Jair Bolsonaro.

“In some cases in his previous political career, Lula did not identify himself as a leftist, since he is a moderator, negotiator and mediator, he is very good, it is clear that if we choose between, say , Temer and Lula, the latter is seen as leftist,” said the political scientist.

In recalling the tense attitudes of Brazilians regarding the federal military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro earlier this year, with the application of the respective constitutional article for the first time in Brazilian democracy since 1985, the analyst stressed that the “memory” of military government remains strong in the minds of Brazilians.

“They are afraid of Bolsonaro, because the ‘injection’ of the military regime was more than strong after the military spent 21 years in power,” she explained.

The main problem of the elections, says Lyudmila Okuneva, is that for now there is no single candidate of the center. This “center” to date has not been able to unite to launch a strong and consolidated candidacy.

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At the same time, the number of supporters for the neo-liberal and Trump wannabe Bolsonaro is not reducing, and has reached about 15% according to several surveys, which shows that a certain segment of the population supports more radical measures in the government.

“On the one hand, there is this ‘injection’ against the military. On the other hand, there is an increase in the intention to vote for Bolsonaro and, even more importantly, there is all this mess and social problems that are not solved, the political class is all corrupt… This is a very propitious ground for the military, because when it has corruption, the military says: ‘Let’s put order’ and ‘Let’s clean everything up.’ They said the same thing at the time of the dictatorship,” warned the specialist.

However, the analyst does not believe that the military can actually come to power in contemporary Brazil, and that there is a Constitution, approved with reference to this danger.

“One might imagine that the military can make a coup because they will not legitimately come to power… But, in my opinion, this will not happen at all, modern military is of a different kind. The military cannot carry out such blows and are instructed differently. I do not think this can happen for the second time,” concluded the expert.

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