Jair Bolsonaro challenges result of Brazilian election with complaint over voting machines

Bolsonaro (right) is challenging the election win of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (Reuters/AFP)
Bolsonaro (right) is challenging the election win of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (Reuters/AFP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged his electoral defeat last month to rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

He has filed a complaint with the country’s federal electoral court (TSE) that alleges votes from older electronic voting machines should be “invalidated.”

Lula’s victory has been ratified by the TSE and acknowledged by Brazil’s leading politicians and international allies.

Bolsonaro’s right-wing electoral coalition, which filed the complaint, said its audit of the vote count had found “signs of irreparable... malfunction” in older voting machines.

There were signs of serious failures that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in several older models of the voting machines, Bolsonaro allies said in their challenge.

As a result, they urged that the votes from those models should be “invalidated.”

Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has for years made baseless claims that the country’s electronic voting system is liable to fraud, without providing substantiating evidence and experts have said his claim seems unlikely to get far.

However Brazil’s currency deepened losses after news of the electoral complaint, losing 1.5% against the US dollar in afternoon trading.

Bolsonaro lost the 30 October run-off election to Lula by 50.9% to 49.1%, the slimmest winning margin since the end of Brazil’s right-wing dictatorship in 1985.

However, Bolsonaro has refused to acknowledge defeat and his supporters have staged protests across the country.

Bolsonaristas have continued to appear in front of military barracks calling for the military to take power.

Lula has been working on the transition ahead of his inauguration on 1 January. He praised the electronic voting machines that Brazil has used without issue since 1996.

He said: “The electronic urns are a triumph for the Brazilian people,” Lula said. “I think many countries around the world are jealous of Brazil for the smoothness of the process here.”