February 8, 2023

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The voted-out Brazilian Bolsonaro questions the election results from Reuters

©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivers a press statement at Alvorada Palace on November 1, 2022 in Brasilia, Brazil. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

By Ricardo Brito and Maria Carolina Marcello

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged his election defeat last month to left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, according to a complaint filed with the country’s Federal Electoral Court (TSE) alleging votes from certain electronic Voting machines should be “void.”

Bolsonaro’s claim seems unlikely to go far, as Lula’s victory was ratified by the TSE and recognized by Brazil’s leaders and international allies. But it could fuel a small but dedicated protest movement that has so far refused to accept the outcome.

Bolsonaro’s right-wing electoral coalition, which filed the complaint, said its vote count audit found “signs of an irreparable … malfunction” in older voting machines.

“There were indications of serious errors that create uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results obtained,” Bolsonaro allies said in their complaint about several older models of voting machines. As a result, they demanded that the votes of these models should be “voided.”

Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has for years made unfounded claims that the country’s e-voting system was vulnerable to fraud without producing any hard evidence.

The Brazilian currency deepened losses following news of the election lawsuit, shedding 1.5% against the US dollar in afternoon trade.

The TSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.