Brazilian Bolsonaro denies losing the election and claims to have signs of “serious failures” in voting machines

Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro has filed a lawsuit challenging his country’s recent election results, which determined his defeat by Socialist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Wed Nov. On Feb. 2, Bolsonaro admitted the “election is over,” in what many saw as a sign of his intent to initiate a power shift to Lula after the nation’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ratified the results. On Wednesday, however, he changed his mind over concerns about some voting machines, blaming a software bug.

Much like former President Trump, whom Bolsonaro openly admires, he has claimed electronic voting machines are susceptible to fraud.

After his coalition reviewed the findings, Bolsonaro said his party had found “signs of irreparable…malfunctioning” on some machines. He did not provide evidence, even on the orders of the electoral court.

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His allies claimed they had found “signs of serious flaws in older models of voting machines, creating uncertainties and making it impossible to validate the results obtained”. They have yet to provide evidence for these claims.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the leader's first public comments since the October 1 loss.  30 presidential elections.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the leader’s first public comments since the October 1 loss. 30 presidential elections.
(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Lula won the election with 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1% and the claim would affect around 280,000 voting machines, according to the BBC. The result would fluctuate 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 they have 24 hours to present the scrutiny for either ballot or the panel will dismiss the party’s claims.

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is running for re-election, smiles before a presidential debate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday September 10, 2022. Da Silva meets on October 28, 2022 in a runoff election to see Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.  30

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is running for re-election, smiles before a presidential debate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday September 10, 2022. Da Silva meets on October 28, 2022 in a runoff election to see Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. 30
(AP Photo/Bruna Brado)

Gleisi Hoffmann, leader of Lula’s party, called Bolsonaro’s lawsuit little more than “harassment”.

“No more procrastination, no more irresponsibility, no more insults to institutions and democracy,” she wrote on Twitter. “The election was decided by vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”

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Brazil’s Social Democracy called Bolsonaro’s complaint “pointless” and said that “institutions, the international community and Brazilian society” would resist efforts to challenge the findings.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, demanding his impeachment over his government's handling of the pandemic and allegations of corruption in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday October 2.  2, 2021.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, demanding his impeachment over his government’s handling of the pandemic and allegations of corruption in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday October 2. 2, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

The Associated Press reported that the bug in question was not previously known. One expert, Wilson Ruggiero, a professor of computer engineering and digital systems at the University of Sao Paulo Polytechnic School, told the agency that each voting machine can still be easily identified through other means such as city and constituency.

President Biden and other international leaders have publicly acknowledged da Silva’s victory, as have some of Bolsonaro’s closest allies.

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In addition to global recognition of Lula’s victorious cabinet members, elected governors and evangelical leaders who have staunchly backed Bolsonaro have already made offers to the new left-wing government.

Reuters and THE Associated Press contributed to this report.

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