Robert Muggah Says More…

Published in the Project Syndicate

Interview with Robert Muggah

This week, PS talks with Robert Muggah, a co-founder of the SecDev Group and the Igarapé Institute.

Project Syndicate: In May, you and Ilona Szabó identified three ways Brazilian President Bolsonaro could potentially be ousted before the 2022 election: impeachment by Congress, conviction by the Supreme Court for common crimes, or ejection by the national electoral tribunal for alleged misconduct during the 2018 campaign. How likely are any of these outcomes? And if Bolsonaro were ousted, how much better off would Brazil be with Vice President Hamilton Mourão until the 2022 election?RM: Bolsonaro is presiding over Brazil’s most chaotic and reckless administration since independence. His political future hinges on whether he can contain the COVID-19 pandemic, shore up political support, and keep a battered economy from collapsing.

On the first task, he has failed spectacularly. Over 2.2 million Brazilians are infected – including Bolsonaro himself – and 81,000 have died since the outbreak began. Researchers think the true figures could be 10-15 times higher. Yet Bolsonaro has remained steadfast in his refusal to introduce common-sense health measures. In fact, he has publicly spoken out against them.

This has not helped with the second imperative. Bolsonaro’s approval rating has taken a hit, though it has improved somewhat in the last couple of months. His cabinet is beset by turmoil. Moreover, criminal investigations into his sons continue, and his alleged attempts to obstruct them have prompted their own investigations.

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