June 15, 2020 / 9:43 PM / a month ago

Brazil's Bolsonaro says military will not remove elected president

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro adjusts his mask as he arrives to a national flag hoisting ceremony in front the Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that the country’s military would not obey any order to remove an elected president, deepening a war of words with the judicial branch that has led to fears of threats to democracy in the country.

Speaking during a radio interview, the far-right former army captain said the armed forces would not accept “a political judgment to remove a democratically elected president.”

He added: “Us, military men from the armed forces, and I’m also a military man, hold the true responsibility for democracy in our country. We would never follow absurd orders.”

Bolsonaro’s comments echoed a similar statement, released on Friday and co-signed by Vice President Hamilton Mourão and Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo, that have sparked concerns over a looming constitutional battle between Bolsonaro and Brazil’s Supreme Court.

The court is overseeing a probe into whether Bolsonaro illegally interfered in Federal Police appointments, and another investigation into an alleged pro-Bolsonaro disinformation campaign on social media.

Bolsonaro is also facing multiple impeachment proposals in Congress.

This all comes as Brazil has become the world No. 2 coronavirus hot spot, with nearly 44,000 deaths.

During the interview, Bolsonaro also spoke about legislative matters, saying that undertaking a tax reform was tricky, and the government was looking into how to design a proposal that could pass Congress.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O'Brien

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