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Bolsonaro backers seek votes annulment to give him Brazil win

AFP . Brasília
23 Nov 2022 10:17:38 | Update: 23 Nov 2022 10:36:25
Bolsonaro backers seek votes annulment to give him Brazil win
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro makes a statement for the first time since Sunday's presidential run-off election, at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on November 01, 2022 — AFP Photo

The party of Brazil's outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro called on the electoral court Tuesday to reject ballots from some 280,000 machines used in last month's vote, alleging errors it said robbed their leader of re-election.

"We require that the respective votes at the electronic voting machines, in which irreparable operating discrepancies were verified, be invalidated," said the Liberal Party in a lawsuit filed at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

It also called for the "practical and legal consequences due in relation to the result of the second round of the elections to be determined."

Bolsonaro's party alleged a "malfunction" of five models of ballot box, supposedly demonstrated in a technical report by the Legal Voting Institute, hired by the party itself, which it said, "would jeopardize the transparency of the electoral process." 

The TSE president, Alexandre de Moraes, responded to the request by questioning whether the challenged voting machines were used both in the run-off, on October 30, as well as in the first round of voting on October 2.

"Under pain of rejection (of the lawsuit), the author must add a request so that both rounds of the elections are covered, within a period of 24 hours," Moraes said in his decision.

Bolsonaro lost the runoff to former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by the narrowest margin in Brazil's modern history -- less than two percentage points.

The complaint refers to some 280,000 voting machines used in the elections and which were models deployed before 2020.

"The inconsistencies do not allow the voter's vote to be verified. This does not mean that there was fraud, but rather that there is no certainty that the ballot boxes are credible," Marcelo Bessa, a lawyer for the Liberal Party, told reporters in Brasilia.

He said on the older ballot box models, Lula obtained an advantage of nearly five points, greater than the official result putting him at 50.9 per cent against Bolsonaro's 49.1 per cent.

If the votes in question were thrown out, Bolsonaro's party said the incumbent president would obtain re-election "with 51.05 per cent of the valid votes against 48.95 per cent for Lula."

Bolsonaro has remained largely silent since losing re-election.

The far-right leader did not explicitly recognize the result, but authorized the transition of power. Bolsonaro cited "the feeling of injustice" of his followers, who in some cases continued to demonstrate in front of military barracks demanding a military intervention against the election outcome.

Liberal Party president Valdemar Costa Neto said the report "does not express the opinion" of the party but relies instead on the work of "technical specialists in data security."