President Bolsonaro calls for the partial annulment of the elections he lost to Lula | International
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The Brazilian president, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, 67, who has been cloistered in his residence since he lost the elections, has decided to question the result through institutional means. He was defeated by the minimum (1.8 points; about two million votes less than his opponent) three weeks ago against his rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 77 years old. The far-right president filed an appeal this Tuesday afternoon before the Superior Electoral Tribunal in which he requests that he annul part of the votes cast on October 30. The votes in question are those typed in the oldest models of the electronic ballot box that Brazil has been using for 25 years and the argument put forward is the alleged inconsistencies detected.
The demand supposes the materialization of a fear that has flown over these elections, the most tense and polarized in the recent history of Brazil. The request for part of the votes to be invalidated is based, according to the letter cited by Reuters, “in indications of irreparable malfunction” detected by an audit commissioned by the president’s team. Arguing that there are “signs of serious errors that generate uncertainty and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in the ballot box of certain models, they demand that they be annulled. The letter is signed by the President of the Republic and by the leader of the Liberal Party, with whom he attended the elections and which obtained the largest parliamentary group in Congress.
The president of the Superior Electoral Tribunal, Alexandre de Moraes, has given Bolsonaro 24 hours to present the audits of both the first electoral round and the second round on which his appeal is based, reports Reuters. If he does not present the documentation, he will reject the claim.
In 2014 and after Dilma Rouseff’s close victory, her opponent, Aecio Neves, challenged the result without success. The Superior Electoral Court rejected his arguments.
Since he lost the elections, Bolsonaro has practically disappeared. And his absence, his silence and his refusal to explicitly acknowledge the victory of the leftist Lula have emboldened his most radical supporters. During these three weeks, the most ultra-bolsonaristas have held rallies in front of barracks throughout the country in which they have called on the military to stage a coup and prevent Lula’s inauguration, scheduled for January 1. The protests, which began with tens of thousands of people, have been winding down but persist in several cities. The challenge presented by Bolsonaro can give wings to those small Bolsonaro groups that continue to mobilize in the streets.
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Bolsonaro thus culminates a long campaign in which he has questioned the current voting system and has sown doubts about it, but without ever offering conclusive evidence. And in this quarter of a century no case of fraud has been detected. In any case, his suspicions have permeated part of his followers, who are convinced that the elections have been stolen from them. The erosion of confidence in the electronic ballot box of which Brazil was so proud until recently is evident.
The results of the Brazilian elections have been official since they were so declared by the Superior Electoral Tribunal on the same night of the 30th after a heart attack count. Lula achieved 50.9% (60 million votes) and Bolsonaro, 49.1% (58 million). Immediately, they were recognized by the highest representatives of both the Chamber of Deputies, an ally of Bolsonaro, as well as the Senate and the Supreme Court. Foreign governments, led by the United States, quickly joined in the recognition and congratulated Lula for obtaining what will be his third term after presiding over Brazil between 2003 and 2010.
The transfer of power advances outside the coup protests. Lula’s transition team is installed in Brasilia, analyzing government documentation and negotiating with many gangs to get the necessary parliamentary support to come up with ways to finance their electoral promises. The leftist, who underwent surgery on his larynx on Monday, continues without revealing a single one of his ministers. Last week the president-elect made his first trip abroad. First to the climate summit in Egypt, and then to Portugal.
While Lula monopolizes all the prominence, the still president continues knocked out. He went to sleep early on election night and only broke his silence 45 hours later. That has been his only public act in those three weeks. It was an intervention of less than two minutes at his residence in Brasilia, in which he did not explicitly admit defeat, nor did he congratulate Lula. However, he signed the decree that began the transfer of powers. During this time, his official agenda is minimal, he has stepped foot in his office only once, he only receives ministers, some other senior government official and always at his residence, he has abandoned the live broadcasts on Thursdays and his networks are updated with government achievements, no statements. A radical change for a politician who gave birth to a powerful movement from social networks.
After knowing the partial contestation of the results, the news occupies a secondary place in the digital front pages of the Brazilian press, headed by the death of the singer Erasmo Carlos, from Jovem Guarda, at the age of 81. Throughout the morning, the opening has been monopolized by Argentina and its defeat against Saudi Arabia in the World Cup. Neymar’s selection opens on Thursday.
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