A good three weeks after right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro was voted out of office in Brazil, his party is questioning the results of the runoff elections and wants some of the votes cast to be declared invalid. The Liberal Party (PL) has submitted an application to the Supreme Electoral Court, party leader Valdemar da Costa said on Tuesday (local time). Bolsonaro’s party doubts that all electronic ballot boxes worked properly. In the Oct. 30 runoff, left-wing former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva won a narrow victory.
So far, Bolsonaro has not explicitly acknowledged his defeat. Lula will take office on January 1, 2023. He received 50.9 percent of the vote in the runoff, Bolsonaro got 49.1 percent. Even before the vote, Bolsonaro had repeatedly expressed doubts about the electoral system and indicated that he might not recognize the result.
Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party is now claiming that older models of Brazil’s e-ballot boxes had problems. As a result, party members are demanding that those votes cast be voided. If only the new models are considered reliable, the conservative president would be re-elected with 51.05 percent of the vote, according to the party.
24 hours reflection time
The electoral court replied that the same devices were used in both ballots. Therefore, the allegations will only be considered if the first ballot is also reviewed, wrote Judge Alexandre de Moraes. He gave the Liberal Party 24 hours to decide how to proceed. His decision puts the Liberal Party in a difficult position, as challenging the results of the first round would likely affect the election of many of its members in Congress.
The Brazilian financial market, however, reacted sensitively to the news. The real fell as much as 1.6 percent, while shares fell 1.4 percent as of 4:37 p.m. local time in Sao Paulo.
“The biggest risk after the elections was that the results would be contested,” the news agency quoted as saying Bloomberg Tiago Cunha, a manager at Ace Capital. “That was gone, but now it’s back.”