WHen Jair Bolsonaro On October 30, he ran for re-election and lost, and he did not say a word for 44 hours. Then, when he spoke, he didn’t explicitly reject the outcome, although he didn’t admit it either. Many see this as some kind of victory for democracy. Brazil’s right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro has for years questioned Brazil’s electoral system, which relies entirely on electronic ballots. For months, he has been suggesting that his opponent, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, can only win if he is rigged. When the proverbial Lula won by just 1.8 percentage points, many expected Mr Bolsonaro to oppose the result.
Three weeks later, he tried to do just that. On Nov. 22, lawyer Marcelo Bessa filed a 33-page petition with the electoral court on behalf of Bolsonaro’s aptly named Liberal Party. They continue to claim that Brazil’s electronic voting machines cannot be trusted. They urged electoral courts to cancel all ballots cast by machines before 2020. They considered the machines unsafe because they did not have PINs. This will affect 280,000 machines, or 59 percent of the total. If that happened, they said, Mr Bolsonaro would win with 51% of the vote.
The court gave his team 24 hours to produce a report to support their case, which they did not do. As a result, the court dismissed the complaint and fined the party 23 million reais ($4 million) for “malicious” conduct.
Voting machines in Brazil have been used successfully since 1996. They don’t need an identification number: they can be identified by a unique digital certificate. This means that the machines can be exchanged for other machines with fake tickets in them. But the safety of the machines was never called into question until Mr Bolsonaro found it useful. Experts agree that they count votes quickly and fairly.
Lula has been confirmed by electoral authorities as Brazil’s next president; he will take power on January 1. His victory was quickly endorsed by foreign governments and Bolsonaro’s many supporters in Congress.The President of the Electoral Tribunal, Alexandre de Moraes, is a Supreme Court judge who bolsonist Disgusted, argued that if the electoral tribunal were to consider Mr Bolsonaro’s claims, it would also have to look into the results of the first round. That included a vote in the lower house, where Mr Bolsonaro’s party won 99 of the 513 seats.
Mr Bolsonaro’s timing seems odd. Despite massive protests by his supporters in the immediate aftermath of the election, including truck drivers blocking roads, they were quickly dispersed. The Highway Police – whose chiefs are under investigation for allegedly trying to interfere with the voting process in Mr Bolsonaro’s favor – obeyed orders to shut down the trucks at the protest.but hundreds bolsonist Still camping in front of military barracks in cities like Brasilia and São Paulo. They demanded that the armed forces “save Brazil” by intervening and keeping Mr Bolsonaro in power.
Earlier this month, the military issued an ambiguous statement saying they had “neither noticed nor ruled out the possibility of fraud.” They had earlier participated in an inspection of voting machines at the invitation of the electoral court. Many military officers admire Mr Bolsonaro. But the Supreme Command stressed that the dispute should be resolved by law.
Mr Bolsonaro is a fan of Donald Trump; one of his sons supports storming us The Capitol with Trump supporters on January 6, 2021. Brazil seems unlikely to suffer similar turmoil next month. Even so, Mr Bolsonaro has left a worrying mark, suggesting to his supporters that Lula, whom he has previously accused of working for the devil, is not a legitimate president. According to political scientist Marcos Nobre, Mr Bolsonaro does not support a general coup. “He’s trying to get stronger for 2026,” he said. ■