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Brazilian justice rejects incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro’s election challenge

Sao Paulo, Brazil

The head of Brazil’s electoral tribunal on Wednesday rejected Jair Bolsonaro’s request to void the ballots for this year’s presidential election, calling the incumbent president’s allegation that some voting machines malfunctioned as “ridiculous and illicit” and “apparently conspiratorial against the democratic rule of law”.

In his ruling, Supreme Electoral Court Chief Justice Alexandre De Moraes said all electronic ballot designs were “perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure and integral manner”. He also ordered Bolsonaro’s right-wing Liberal Party to pay a fine of 22 million reais ($4.1 million) for “litigation in bad faith”.

Bolsonaro narrowly lost a runoff last month to left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as “Lula,” who is due to be sworn in as president on January 1.

Since then, Bolsonaro has refrained from explicitly acknowledging that he lost, but previously said he would “continue to fulfill all the commandments of the constitution” – leading observers to believe he would cooperate with the transfer of power.

But in the petition filed on Tuesday, Bolsonaro and the leader of his liberal party alleged that some voting machines had malfunctioned and that any votes cast through them should be voided.

Citing analysis from a firm hired by Bolsonaro’s party, the complaint claimed that suppressing those votes would give Bolsonaro victory.

Election authorities have previously said the same voting machines were used in the first round of elections and the second round.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Liberal Party Congressman Valdemar Costa Neto claimed that Bolsonaro’s party had only asked for “a second-round verification because we understand that it would be impossible to do so in first round because of the number of people”. [candidates] affected.”

Last month’s stormy elections unfolded in a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil, grappling with high inflation, limited growth and growing poverty.

Lula da Silva received more than 60 million votes – according to the electoral authority’s final tally – the most in Brazilian history and breaking his own record from 2006.


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