| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Brazil’s electoral court rejects Bolsonaro election challenge

President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters filed a lawsuit against the election, which the incumbent narrowly lost, but the head of Brazil’s electoral court Alexandre de Moraes rejected it on Wednesday, according to a court document.

A dramatic comeback for the leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the overthrow of Brazil’s most right-wing administration in decades were made possible by Lula’s close victory over Bolsonaro in the Oct. 30 runoff election.

Lula’s margin of victory was by less than two percentage points.

Moraes, who serves as a Supreme Court justice, also fined the parties in Bolsonaro’s coalition to the tune of 22.9 million reais ($4.27 million) for what the court described as bad faith litigation, the document showed.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) filed a complaint to challenge the outcome of the election claiming some of the electronic voting machines were flawed and those votes should be invalidated, an argument that election authorities met with skepticism.

Under the terms of Wednesday’s electoral court decision, political funds for the president’s coalition parties were ordered blocked until the fine is paid. The ruling also ordered an investigation into any misuse of the party’s structure and funds by PL head Valdemar da Costa Neto.

In the ruling, Moraes described the challenge as “offensive” to democratic norms, adding that it sought to encourage criminal and anti-democratic movements.

“The ballot boxes generate files that make it possible to identify precisely which equipment they were generated on. When one of these mechanisms stops working, others replace it, without affecting its traceability and the possibility of identifying ballot boxes,” according to the decision.

Election experts and political analysts blasted the election challenge from Bolsonaro allies as weak on the merits, though it could still fire up supporters who have been protesting his defeat at the polls.

  • Reuters