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Rule of LawBrazil

Court to probe Bolsonaro for claiming election fraud

August 3, 2021

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested he may not accept the results of next year's elections, citing flaws in the voting system. Now the country's electoral court has opened an investigation into his comments.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, July 2021.  (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Bolsonaro is expected to seek a second term in 2022.Image: Eraldo Peres/AP/picture alliance

Brazil's top electoral court (TSE) has decided to open an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro after he claimed there would be fraud in next year's elections.

Bolsonaro, who will be seeking a second term in the 2022 polls, has repeatedly said the country's electronic voting system is vulnerable to manipulation.

Claims of fraud before 2022 elections

Bolsonaro has recommended using paper-based voting to replace Brazil's current electronic system. He has also suggested he may not accept next the results of the election if the system is not replaced.

His supporters held demonstrations in several cities over the weekend, backing his proposal

A congressional committee will vote on the proposal to introduce paper ballots on Thursday.

Bolsonaro last week acknowledged that he had no proof for his claims of electoral fraud, but claimed he had "indications" of it. In an interview with a radio station, he said Justice Luis Roberto Barroso, who is the head of the TSE, "wants the elections to be manipulated."

A group of 18 current and former judges on the TSE said the system was free and fair.

"Brazil has eliminated a history of election fraud. The electronic voting system is subject to audits before, during and after the election," said the judges. They also said printed ballots are less reliable than electronic voting. 

Brazil adopted the electronic voting system in 1996. There have been no reported cases of fraud since then.

Bolsonaro's popularity has suffered in recent times, with polls placing him behind his main election challenger, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

tg/nm (Reuters, EFE)