SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Sunday that allies have suggested he increases the number of justices in the Supreme Court if he is reelected, according to remarks broadcast on social media.
The Supreme Court has 11 members, and Bolsonaro says the move could help level the playing field at the country’s highest body of justice.
“This suggestion was put before me,” Bolsonaro said during an interview with YouTube podcaster when asked about the proposed changes.
The far-right Brazilian president has been at odds with the Supreme Court for most of his tenure in office.
Last year, the Supreme Court approved an investigation into Bolsonaro’s unfounded accusations that Brazil’s electronic voting system is open to fraud, a move which he claimed was “unconstitutional.”
Separately, the Supreme Court authorized a probe into Bolsonaro for posting documents to social media from a sealed police investigation related to the hacking of the country’s federal election court.
The president’s critics have denounced the proposal as a threat to Brazilian institutions, citing a similar move by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2003.
Bolsonaro said whoever wins Brazil’s presidential election will have a right to appoint two more names to the Supreme Court.
As such, he said his decision on whether to propose more members to the body has not been made, adding the plan would require negotiations with Congress.
Bolsonaro is facing off against leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an Oct. 30 presidential runoff, with most polls showing the challenger with a narrow lead.
(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Aurora Ellis)