São Paulo, Brazil
The head of Brazil’s electoral court on Wednesday rejected Jair Bolsonaro’s petition to annul ballots from this year’s presidential vote, calling the outgoing President’s allegation that some voting machines had malfunctioned “ludicrous and illicit” and “ostensibly conspiratorial toward the democratic rule of law.”
In his ruling, Chief Justice of the Supreme Electoral Court Alexandre De Moraes said all models of electronic ballots were “perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure and integral way.” He also ordered Bolsonaro’s right-wing Liberal Party to pay a fine of 22 million reais ($4.1 million) for “bad faith litigation.”
Bolsonaro narrowly lost a run-off vote last month to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as “Lula,” who is due to be inaugurated as president on January 1.
Since then Bolsonaro has stopped short of explicitly conceding that he lost, but has previously said he would “continue to fulfill all commandments of the constitution” – leading observers to believe that 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 any votes cast through them should be annulled.
Citing analysis by a company hired by Bolsonaro’s party, the complaint claimed that removing those votes would hand Bolsonaro victory.
Election authorities have previously said that the same voting machines were used in the first round of elections and the run-off vote.
In a news conference Wednesday, Liberal Party congressman Valdemar Costa Neto claimed Bolsonaro’s party only asked “for verification of the second round as we understand it would be impossible to do so in the first round due to the number of people [candidates] affected.”
Last month’s heated election came amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil, which has been struggling with high inflation, limited growth and rising poverty.
Lula da Silva received more than 60 million votes – according to the election authority’s final tally – the most in Brazilian history and breaking his own record from 2006.