Brazilian President Bolsonaro Challenges Election Loss, Files Petition Demanding Votes Be Annulled

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In the filed petition, Bolsonaro asked the electoral court to reject ballots from certain voting machines after alleging that some of the machines had malfunctioned and compromised the votes.

Outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged the results of the country’s presidential elections by filing a petition with election authorities to formally contest the results of the fiercely contested votes.

In the elections held October, Bolsonaro lost narrowly to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as “Lula”, who is due to be inaugurated as president on January 1, when the Brazilian leader’s term will come to an end.

Bolsonaro and the leader of his right-wing Liberal Party, in the petition filed Tuesday, asked the electoral court to reject ballots from certain voting machines after they alleged that some of the machines had malfunctioned and compromised the ballots during the second round.

Citing analysis done by a company hired by Bolsonaro’s party, the complaint claims that removing those votes would hand the president victory.

Responding to the petition, electoral authorities said that since the same voting machines were used in the first round of elections, Bolsonaro and his party must amend their complaint to include the first round of voting in order for the process to make its way through the courts.

According to Chief Justice of the Supreme Electoral Court Alexandre Moraes, Bolsonaro and his petitioners, who have not presented proof for their allegation of machine errors, have just 24 hours to amend their submission.

However, the challenge may not go far considering the fact that Lula’s victory, which is 50.9% to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, has been ratified by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

Bolsonaro, a former captain, while not conceding defeat, has given the go-ahead for a presidential transition, saying he would “continue to fulfill all commandments of the constitution”. He has stepped away from the public gaze since losing the election on October 30.

According to his party, however, if the votes in question were discounted, he would win re-election “with 51.05% of the valid votes, against 48.95% for Lula”.

Lula, who previously served as president from 2003 to 2010, will become the oldest person to assume presidential position in Brazil at 77. His victory was a stunning comeback for a politician who could not run in the last presidential election in 2018 because he was in jail and barred from public office.