RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday denied that he has any intention of carrying out a coup if he loses October’s election, adding that he rejects a constitutional measure seen as an effort to protect him from crime accusations.
Efforts by Bolsonaro to turn an Independence Day military parade on Sept. 7 into a political event, less than a month before the presidential election, has raised concerns he may use the military to compensate for his sagging popularity.
“I’m not afraid of losing the election. I’m not worried about it,” Bolsonaro said in an interview on the Flow Podcast. “If I wanted to pull off a coup I wouldn’t say anything.”
Bolsonaro is running second in polls ahead of the election, trailing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
In the same interview, the president raised suspicions against the country’s voting system, echoing an argument he has often repeated.
“What we want is transparency, because my reputation out there is of a coup plotter, of not wanting to accept the result of the elections,” he said.
Asked about recent news that allies of his were seeking a bill that would amend the constitution to grant ex-presidents a lifetime senator position, guaranteeing them congressional immunity, Bolsonaro said he had no interest in the proposal.
“They’re going to say that I’m asking for a reprieve … I don’t want that immunity.”
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Editing by Michael Perry)