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Wed. July 17, 2024
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Bolsonaro’s Ineligibility: An Essential Step for the Preservation of Democracy
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Democracy is a beacon of hope, ensuring fair representation and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens. In a significant case, Jair Bolsonaro – famous for his demagogic policies – has been declared ineligible to hold public office for the next eight years. This decision shocked the country and generated intense debates about the importance of this event for the future of Brazilian democracy.

The last four years have been marked his attacks on democratic institutions, on freedom, and on minorities. His populist oratory polarized Brazil, accentuating already present social divisions and drowning democratic values. His ineligibility is a watershed in the country's democratic journey, showing that even those in the highest positions in the government are not immune to shackles. Furthermore, it is also a warning for future leaders, serving as an example for those who – in their most distant dreams – decide to attack one of the most important pillars of our country.

Another essential feature of a thriving democracy is the presence of strict checks and balances. During the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil witnessed a systematic weakening of these mechanisms, with attacks – almost daily – on institutions and individuals who went against Bolsonaro, all as a political strategy to concentrate power in the Executive. His ineligibility represents a victory for the system of checks and balances in preventing the abuse of power. This decision also restores Brazilians' faith in their political system and their vital responsibility in combating authoritarian politicians, thus preserving the delicate balance of the democratic system.

Democracy, to be a fair and functional system, depends on certain norms and values that must be followed at all costs. The first is respect for your political opponents and their right to be present in the political arena. The second is respect for citizens, especially those belonging to minorities. During his presidency, Jair Bolsonaro attacked opposition political leaders. Not content, Bolsonaro also questioned the legitimacy of any institution that disagreed with his political opinion. Saying that one was not worthy of rape and that another should be in prison is just the beginning of his extensive vocabulary of abuse. In addition, Bolsonaro – from the time he was a presidential candidate – made clear his disdain for minorities. Blacks, homosexuals, indigenous people, and even women, nothing escaped the former president's ignorant clutches. His ineligibility serves as a reminder and reinforces these democratic values of importance to our country.

Jair Bolsonaro's declaration of ineligibility to hold public office in Brazil has immense significance for democracy in Brazil. It shows that the resilience of a system – however far from perfect it may be – has constructs that guarantee its success. Bolsonaro's ineligibility also reminds future leaders of their duties, exemplifying the paths a president should never take. A president without due respect for his competition and his citizens is nothing more than an authoritarian, is one who has no place in Brazilian politics.

Iuri M. Piovezan is a graduate student at Villanova University studying Political Science. He has also received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Temple University in 2022.

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