The far-right president has a long history of questioning election results and pushing anti-democratic rhetoric.
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has challenged his loss in last month’s elections against leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro’s allies have filed a complaint with the country’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) to demand “extraordinary verification” of the election results, according to a report by CNN Brasil on Tuesday.
They cited the results of their own audit of the second round of the October 30 election, in which Lula won a narrow victory over the incumbent president. Bolsonaro’s allies claim the audit shows evidence of “malfunction” in older electronic voting machines.
“There were signs of serious failures that create uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated,” the complaint alleged, calling for the ballots processed in those machines to be “invalidated”.
With Lula’s victory verified by TSE and recognized by political figures in Brazil and the rest of the world, the complaint is unlikely to change the final results.
However, the move could boost supporters of the president whose anti-democratic rhetoric has fueled fears he could disrupt the peaceful transition of power.
In the months leading up to the election, Bolsonaro dispersed baseless claims that the country’s electoral system was riddled with fraud. Critics feared the former army captain – who has praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship in the past – would try to invalidate the results.
Those concerns subsided as the election passed without any significant problems. After nearly two days of silence following his loss, Bolsonaro reportedly told a Brazil Supreme Court judge:It is done“.
However, while Bolsonaro authorized his government to do so begin the transition process, he never admitted defeat. Bolsonaro’s supporters took to the streets and called on the military to intervene to stop Lula’s victory.
Brazilian police said truck drivers, a key Bolsonaro constituency, had some or all of it blocked highways on 271 points as part of the protests.
The Supreme Court has ordered the roadblocks removed, but some Bolsonaro supporters have continued to call on the president to overrule the voters’ will. The complaint filed on Tuesday is likely to spark further protests.
Alexandre de Moraes, the Supreme Court judge leading the TSE, said in a ruling that Bolsonaro’s right-wing electoral coalition must present its full audit for both rounds of last month’s presidential election within 24 hours or it would dismiss the complaint.