World

Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro’s election challenge rejected by electoral court

Court documents show that on Wednesday, Alexandre de Moraes, the head of Brazil's electoral court, denied a challenge to the results of the presidential election brought by supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, who narrowly lost the vote.

Court documents show that on Wednesday, Alexandre de Moraes, the head of Brazil’s electoral court, denied a challenge to the results of the presidential election brought by supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, who narrowly lost the vote.

It was a spectacular return for leftist ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Oct. 30 when he narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in a runoff election, bringing an end to Brazil’s most right-wing government in decades.

The margin of victory for Lula was under 2%.

Moraes, a Supreme Court justice, also issued a fine of 22.9 million reais ($4.27 million) against Bolsonaro’s coalition parties for engaging in “bad faith litigation,” as stated in the document.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) submitted a lawsuit to overturn the election results, stating that the electoral court should nullify votes cast on defective electronic voting machines. This claim was met with suspicion on the part of election officials.

The electoral court ordered the president’s coalition parties’ political funds frozen on Wednesday until the fine is paid. The court also demanded an investigation into whether or not PL leader Valdemar da Costa Neto had abused his position or the party’s resources.

The judge, Moraes, wrote that the challenge was an “offence” to democratic standards and that it attempted to incite 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 ruling.

Experts and political observers have panned Bolsonaro’s election challenge as weak on the merits, but it might potentially incite his fans who have been protesting his electoral loss.