Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged the election he lost last month to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, according to a complaint to electoral authorities that claims votes from some voting machines should be “invalidated”.
Bolsonaro’s claim seems unlikely to go far, as Lula’s victory has been ratified by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) and recognized by Brazil’s leading politicians and international allies. Still, it could fuel a small but committed protest movement that has so far refused to accept the outcome.
Alexandre de Moraes, the Supreme Court judge who currently heads the TSE, said in a ruling seen by Reuters that Bolsonaro’s right-wing coalition, which filed the complaint, must present its full audit of both rounds of last month’s vote within 24 hours or he would reject the.
Bolsonaro’s coalition said its review of the Oct. 30 runoff between Bolsonaro and Lula had found “signs of irreparable … malfunction” in some electronic voting machines.
“There were signs of serious failures that create uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in older models of the voting machines, Bolsonaro’s allies said in their complaint. As a result, they called for the votes of these models to be “nullified”.
Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has claimed for years that the country’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud, without providing evidence.
Brazil’s currency deepened losses following news of the election complaint, shedding 1.5% against the US dollar in afternoon trade. The real was already suffering from investor concerns about Lula’s spending plans and economic policymakers.
Fernando Bergallo, chief operating officer at FB Capital, said Bolsonaro’s attempt to challenge the election results was unlikely to get far, but would add “pessimism on top of everything we already have.”
Bolsonaro remained publicly silent for nearly 48 hours after the election was called on October 30 and has still not conceded defeat, although he did authorize his government to begin preparing for a presidential transition.
One of Brazil’s most visible presences on social media and at public events for the past four years, Bolsonaro has all but disappeared from public view for the past three weeks, with little or no formal agenda or public statements on most days.