The Superior Electoral Court (TSE) judges, this Tuesday night (26), two cases dealing with the revocation of the Bolsonaro-Mourão ticket for massive dissemination of fake news on social networks during the 2018 electoral process.
The request was made by the coalition “O povo feliz de novo”, which brings together the acronyms PT, PCdoB and Pros, all currently occupying the field of opposition to the federal government. The parties allege abuse of economic power and misuse of the media:
It is good to highlight and regret that the TSE will judge a case like this only now. Imagine that, if the ticket is revoked, the President of the Republic still held the mandate for three years
“Similar processes on the other ticket, which was that of (former candidate Fernando) Haddad (PT), were tried a long time ago,” recalls electoral lawyer Luciano Caparroz Santos, from the Platform of Social Movements for the Reform of the Political System.
The statement is a reference especially to the trial of action that accused the PT ticket and professionals from the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo of alleged collusion and use of two funds (funds not officially accounted for) to attack Bolsonaro’s candidacy. The process, which had been filed by the former Army captain’s campaign, was judged in September 2019, and the TSE unanimously rejected the request, filing the case.
In the case of the actions against the Bolsonaro-Mourão ticket that will be judged on Tuesday, the documents point to problems such as the hiring of companies in the digital marketing area by pro-Bolsonaro companies to spread messages against the PT and co-religionists, the use of robots for mass propagation of these contents, illegal use of the name and CPF of the elderly to register phone chips that could enable shooting and receiving illegal donations through legal entities, among others.
“It is very evident that messages were fired by WhatsApp, that amounts were contributed irregularly to the campaign. The factual set of allegations is very clear today. The members of the TSE have elements to judge this process”, considers Caparroz.
Behind the scenes in Brasília, it is common to project that the trial may not be concluded this Tuesday and that there may be a request for a review by a minister. It is also considered that the tendency of the evaluation of the case by the ministers is towards a possible shelving.
The Electoral Public Ministry (MPE), for example, presented an opinion asking for the rejection of the actions. The Deputy General Electoral Attorney, Paulo Gonet Branco, also disregarded evidence collected by the Supreme Court (STF) in the investigation of fake news and in the investigation that deals with undemocratic acts.
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Such investigations point to the trail of an organized digital militia that would have been articulated in recent times to attack the institutions and the democratic system. The MPE, however, said that there is not enough evidence to characterize the abuse of economic power by the pocket narist in 2018.
In a statement made on Monday (25), the Vice President of the Republic, Hamilton Mourão (PRTB), said that “nothing will happen” in relation to the actions. He speculates as the next chapter of the legal dispute a request for a view or, in fact, the dismissal of the case.
The issue of triggering fake news on social networks to boost campaigns is relevant because, in addition to confusing the population, fake content creates a situation of unfair competition in the political scenario, with candidates competing without parity of tools. Experts understand that the practice unbalances the electoral process and is quite harmful to democracy.
“The Electoral Court has discussed the matter a lot and the TSE now has a great opportunity to correct this course. If it doesn’t do it and if it effectively judges that there is no situation for the ticket to be revoked, it will corroborate the practices that were committed in 2018. It is up to the ministers to resolve this issue”, concludes Caparroz.
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Edition: Vinícius Segalla