In a first, a majority of Brazilians have supported impeaching President Jair Bolsonaro, according to a poll released on Saturday, following clear showings that the controversial right-wing leader has largely been unsuccessful in handling the country's COVID-19 situation.

According to the survey by Datafolha, a polling institute, 54% of Brazilians supported the impeachment of the president, ahead of a proposed move by the country's lower house to open impeachment proceedings against Bolsonaro, however, 42% opposed the move.

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The current results come as a drastic change to the results from the last Datafolha survey on the same issue, released in May, where supporters and opponents of impeachment were essentially tied.

Meanwhile, in another poll from Datafolha, released on Thursday, 51% of Brazilians said they disapproved of Bolsonaro. These are the highest figures recorded in such polls since he took office in January 2019.

To conduct the poll, Datafolha surveyed 2,074 Brazilians face-to-face on July 7 and 8. It has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, meaning results could vary by that much either way.

Recently, Bolsonaro has come under pressure from allegations that federal officials solicited bribes to fast-track and overpay for the Indian Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine.

However, Bolsonaro has said Brazil never paid for or received any doses of a coronavirus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, denouncing all allegations.   

In late June, Brazil's Health Ministry suspended the 1.6 billion real ($304 million) procurement deal.  

In another major blow to Bolsonaro's image, last week, a Supreme Court judge authorized an investigation into the president for dereliction of duty.  

As Brazil passed the grim mark of a half-million deaths from COVID-19, the 66-year-old faced a lot of backlash for repeatedly playing down the coronavirus pandemic, questioning measures to stop its spread, doubting the safety of vaccines, and even promoting unproven remedies to combat it.

On June 11, 2021, as Brazil stood on a COVID death toll of 484,000, Bolsonaro was recorded saying, "I caught the virus and took hydroxychloroquine. Maybe I'm the only head of state who looked for that remedy... I'm not going to back down, I'm stubborn, I'm persistent."