Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has filed a challenge to the election he lost last month to leftist candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, claiming ballots from some machines should be “invalidated.” This claim was initially regarded with suspicion by electoral authorities.
Lula’s victory has been recognised by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and acknowledged by Brazil’s leading politicians and international supporters, making Bolsonaro’s claim seem unlikely to get very far. It could give new life to the few protesters who have refused to accept the outcome.
In a judgement reportedly seen by Reuters, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who presently heads the TSE, stated that the right-wing electoral coalition of Bolsonaro, which submitted the case, has 24 hours to present its comprehensive audit for both rounds of last month’s vote or it will be rejected.
After hearing about the electoral complaint, the Brazilian real fell by an additional 1.3% against the U.S. dollar. Investors were already nervous about Lula’s spending plans and economic policymakers, which caused the currency to fall.
Many people, including Fernando Bergallo, head of operations at FB Capital, have expressed scepticism about Bolsonaro’s effort to contest the election results, saying that it seems unlikely to succeed but would add “pessimism on top of everything we already have.”
Lula’s Workers Party (PT) president, Gleisi Hoffmann, called Bolsonaro’s election complaint “chicanery.”
It’s time for “no more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions, and democracy,” she tweeted. “The election was decided in the vote, and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”
Traditional PT rival, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), tweeted that they will oppose Bolsonaro’s complaint “by institutions, the international community, and Brazilian society.”
According to Bolsonaro’s coalition, “signs of irreparable… malfunction” were identified in several electronic voting equipments during an examination of the second-round runoff between Bolsonaro and Lula on October 30.
To quote the complaint lodged by Bolsonaro’s supporters: “There were signs of serious failures that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated.” This was asserted of older models of voting equipment. Thus, they argued that those models’ votes should be “invalidated.”
A far-right ex-army captain, Bolsonaro, has long argued that the country’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud without giving any proof to support his claims.
However, Bolsonaro has authorised his cabinet to begin planning for a presidential transition and has been publicly silent for about 48 hours since the result was called on October 30.
Though he has been one of Brazil’s most active figures on social media and at events over the previous four years, Bolsonaro has been largely absent from the spotlight for the past three weeks, with his schedule empty of any significant public appearances or pronouncements.