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LATIN AMERICA | 19-07-2022 14:47

Speaking to ambassadors, Bolsonaro again questions electoral system

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gathered diplomats on Monday to criticise the electoral system. All polls predict he will lose when the elections take place in three months.

President Jair Bolsonaro once again questioned the Brazilian electoral system on Monday, less than three months before the presidential election that all polls predict he will lose.

"We want to correct the flaws, we want transparency, a real democracy," said the far-right leader, who has repeatedly sought to cast doubt over the country's electronic voting system.

He continued to blast the voting system in a speech that lasted nearly an hour at the presidential palace in Brasilia, in front of several dozen ambassadors invited specifically to listen to him discuss the topic.

Notable invitees included ambassadors from France and Spain, among others.

Voters in Brazil cast their ballots electronically at voting stations.

But Bolsonaro has long argued for a paper printout to be made of each vote cast, suggesting the absence of a paper trail makes cheating easier.

He has not provided evidence of fraud, and the Superior Electoral Court insists the system is fair and transparent.

"We are three months away from the election," Bolsonaro said. "We cannot hold elections amid mistrust."

His repeated questioning of the system has prompted the Supreme Court to open an investigation into Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro is broadly projected to lose in October to leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

Da Silva dismissed Bolsonaro's speech as lies aimed at deflecting attention from real problems facing the country.

"It's a shame that Brazil doesn't have a president who calls 50 ambassadors to talk about something in the interest of the country," Da Silva tweeted later Monday. "Employment, development, or the fight against hunger, for example. Instead, he tells lies against our democracy."

Bolsonaro's comments have led analysts to fear that he may refuse to accept defeat in a scenario similar to the January 2021 invasion of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, a hero of Bolsonaro's. 

At a Senate hearing last week, defence minister Paulo Sérgio Nogueira proposed holding a "parallel vote" with a special ballot box for paper ballots.


– TIMES/AFP

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