On Thursday, November 1, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro nominated prominent anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro - who previously led the anti-fraud inquiry of convicted former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - as Justice Minister. Bolsonaro also announced he will move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although he has not given a timeline for when the relocation will take place. Demonstrations related to these controversial decisions are possible in major Brazilian cities in the near-term. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near any potential protest sites. Clashes between rival political demonstrators, as well as between demonstrators and police, cannot be ruled out.
Jair Bolsonaro, leader of the right-wing Partido Social Liberal (PSL), won the Brazilian presidential election on Sunday, October 28, defeating Fernando Haddad (Partido dos Trabalhadores; PT) following a campaign season marred by acts of political violence. Bolsonaro won 55 percent of votes in the October 28 presidential election runoff against PT candidate Fernando Haddad and is slated to take office on January 1, 2019. Bolsonaro was a controversial candidate who has previously criticized democracy and supported extrajudicial violence.
Moro is seen as a polarizing figure in Brazil, with many claiming the anti-corruption investigation he led, named Operation Car Wash, was politically motivated. Although Moro was rumored to be planning a run for the presidency in the October election, he later declined to do so. Tensions remain high following the October 28 presidential vote, with mass demonstrations taking place following the results. Bolsonaro has expressed support and admiration for US President Donald Trump, and has indicated he will mirror many of his decisions, including leaving the Paris Climate Accord and moving to target Chinese trade. Brazil joins the US, Guatemala, and Honduras as countries that have moved or announced their intention to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Individuals in Brazil are advised to stay abreast of the political situation, avoid all political gatherings due to the risk of violence, and refrain from discussing politically-sensitive topics, including the election, in public.
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