Nov. 24 (BP) — Brazil’s electoral court rejected outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro’s election challenge on Thursday and fined Bolsonaro’s party for disputing last month’s runoff results.
Alexandre de Moraes, a supreme court justice, fined Bolsonaro’s coalition $4.3 million for what the court called bad faith litigation.
“The complete bad faith of the plaintiff’s bizarre and illicit request … was proven, both by the refusal to add to the initial petition and the total absence of any evidence of irregularities and the existence of a totally fraudulent narrative of the facts,” de Moraes wrote in his final decision.
Bolsonaro had argued that a number of votes should be thrown out, citing a voting machine malfunction in the runoff election. Bolsonaro was defeated by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by a narrow 50.9% to 49.1% margin.
In his ruling Thursday, De Moraes said the electronic ballots were “perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure and integral way.”
Bolsonaro was not alone in his opposition to the results of the election. Protests of the results have continued throughout the country since the election.
“The current popular movements are the result of indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process took place,” Bolsonaro said.
De Moraes blamed the protests on the election challenge and ordered an investigation into the president of Bolsonaro’s party, Valdemar Costa.
Bolsonaro has not conceded despite the nation’s electoral authority announcing the victory of Lula, and many of Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party members accepting the result.
The current president, whose term will end at the end of the year, alleged a software bug in electronic voting machines should constitute votes made on those machines being thrown out which would have given Bolsonaro 51% of the remaining votes, according to Bloomberg.
The Liberal Party audited the machines in question and found that about 59% of them did not have an individual identification number. It was not explained why this would invalidate any votes or prove any susceptibility to fraud.
Lula, a leftist, will be sworn in as president on Jan. 1. His victory came after neither candidate was able to earn a majority of the vote during the first round of voting in early October.