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Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro has launched a challenge against his country’s recent election results that determined his loss to socialist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
On Nov. 2, Bolsonaro admitted that the “election is over” in a move that appeared to many to signal his intent to begin a transition of power to Lula after the nation’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) ratified the results. However, on Wednesday, he changed his tune over concerns regarding some voting machines and blaming a software bug.
Much like former President Trump, who Bolsonaro openly admires, he has claimed that electronic voting machines are prone to fraud.
Following an audit of results by his coalition, Bolsonaro said his party found “signs of irreparable … malfunctions” in some machines. He has not provided any proof, even when ordered to do so by the electoral court.
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His allies claimed they found “signs of serious failures that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in older models of the voting machines. They have yet to provide any evidence of these claims.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks from his official residence of Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, the leader’s first public comments since losing the Oct. 30 presidential runoff.
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Lula won the election with 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, and the claim would affect some 280,000 voting machines, according to the BBC. The result would swing to 51.05% for Bolsonaro and 48.95% for Lula if the affected votes were invalidated.
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The TSE told Bolsonaro’s coalition that they have 24 hours to present the audit for both rounds of voting, or the body will reject the party’s claims.
Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is running for re-election, smiles prior to a presidential debate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Da Silva will face Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in a presidential runoff on Oct. 30.
(AP photo/Bruna Brado)
Gleisi Hoffmann, president of Lula’s party, called Bolsonaro’s complaint little more than “chicanery.”
“No more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy,” she wrote on Twitter. “The election was decided in the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”
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The Brazilian Social Democracy Party called Bolsonaro’s complaint “senseless,” saying that “institutions, the international community and Brazilian society” would resist the effort to challenge the results.
Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, calling for his impeachment over his government handling of the pandemic and accusations of corruption in the purchases of COVID-19 vaccines in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
The Associated Press reported that the bug in question was not known of before. One expert, Wilson Ruggiero, a professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the Polytechnic School of the University of Sao Paulo told the agency that each voting machine can still be easily identified through other means, like its city and voting district.
President Biden and other international leaders have publicly recognized da Silva’s victory, as have some of Bolsonaro’s closest allies.
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In addition to world recognition of Lula’s victory cabinet members, governors-elect and evangelical leaders who have been strident supporters of Bolsonaro have already offered overtures to the incoming leftist government.
Reuters and THE Associated Press contributed to this report.
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