Brazil court quashes election challenge filed by Bolsonaro and his allies

A complaint challenging the Brazil presidential elections filed by President Jair Bolsonaro’s allies has been rejected by the head of electoral court Alexandre de Moraes. Bolsonaro had lost to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by a small margin in the October 30 runoff election. Leftist ex-President Lula da Silva win meant the end of Brazil’s most right-wing government in decades.

Lula’s margin of victory was less than two percentage points. Supreme Court justice Moraes described the suit as bad faith litigation and imposed a fine on the parties in Bolsonaro’s coalition to the tune of 22.9 million reais ($4.27 million), according to the court document. 

Following Wednesday’s electoral court decision, political funds for the president’s coalition parties were ordered blocked until the fine is paid, as per the terms of the order. An investigation into any misuse of the party’s structure and funds by PL head Valdemar da Costa Neto has also been ordered.

The complaint filed by Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) on Tuesday, challenged the election results, claiming that some electronic voting machines were flawed and those votes should be invalidated. The election authorities didn’t seem to agree with the argument.

Moraes also said that challenging such electoral outcomes paves the way for criminal and anti-democratic movements and described the challenge as “offensive” to democratic norms. 

“The ballot boxes generate files that make it possible to identify precisely which equipment they were generated on. When one of these mechanisms stops working, others replace it, without affecting its traceability and the possibility of identifying ballot boxes,” according to the decision.

Bolsonaro’s defeat had led to widespread agitation in the country, especially among truck drivers. They blocked roads and highways, hampering movement of goods and affecting availability of necessary goods. The incumbent president had to appeal to them to move away from the roads and find other ways of protesting.

(With inputs from agencies)

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