Brazilian court throws out Bolsonaro’s election bid

Jair Bolsonaro stands at a military event in Rio. Photo by celsopupo on depositphotos.


Jair Bolsonaro stands at a military event in Rio. Photo by celsopupo on depositphotos.

Aiden Bonilla

On Oct. 30, 2022, incumbent Jair Bolsonaro was defeated by Lula da Silva in Brazil’s presidential election. Bolsonaro, the former army captain and right-wing nationalist, lost his tenuous hold over the nation through his controversial policies and erratic behavior. He championed privatization and open markets, but also demonstrated antiquated views and destructive tendencies towards abortion, deforestation and Covid-19 within the country.

Despite these unpopular platforms, he still believes he won the tight election, which finished with Lula gaining 50.9 percent of the popular vote. Lula, a leftist reformer representing the Workers Party, campaigned on social mobility and labor unions. He was a popular president from 2003-2010, as he helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty with his policies. However, he was imprisoned on corruption charges in 2018, as a massive governmental probe convicted many senior officials. Corruption has always been rife within Brazil, but Lula’s sentence was overturned after two years, and he proclaimed that the charges were fabricated by his opposition to silence him.

Bolsonaro initially went quiet after his defeat, but on Nov. 22, his party sent a 33-page request to the electoral tribunal. The paper described that Brazil’s voting machines have always been untrustworthy and disreputable, as they don’t have unique identification numbers. It also called for an annulment to all electronic ballots since 2020. If this plea succeeded, Bolsonaro would have won 51 percent of the popular vote, securing the presidency for his inaptly named Liberal Party.

Bolsonaro’s camp has claimed to have found a software bug within the electronic ballot systems. Despite outside investigators finding no evidence of this bug swaying the election, Bolsonaro insists that he was cheated out of a second term, ala Donald Trump. Ironically enough, the former president is being advised by Jason Miller and Stephen Bannon, two former Trump staffers who abetted the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol, another outburst following an election that was supposedly stolen from an incumbent conservative politician.

Despite these rumblings, Brazil’s election chief, Alexandre de Moraes, dismissed the appeal and fined the conservative party 4.3 million dollars for the submission. In his decision, Moraes invalidated the claims of Bolsonaro’s camp, and called the request dangerous to the state of democracy within the country. He also pondered why Bolsonaro only questioned the validity of the second round of voting, which was where he lost. Indeed, in the first round of voting the Liberal Party won a majority of Brazil’s Congress, making life difficult for new president Lula as he assumed office next year. The Liberal Party said they lacked information regarding the validity of the first round, and Moraes duly rejected the appeal.

Moraes has long been one of Bolsonaro’s biggest critics, but that no longer has bearing on the proceedings at hand. Lula da Silva has returned as president of Brazil, and nobody can challenge that now.