Brazilian Bolsonaro warns 2022 vote will be clean or canceled


Updated Thursday July 8, 2021 | 12:48

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday escalated allegations of potential fraud in next year’s presidential election, suggesting it could be quashed unless the voting system is reformed.

“Either we are holding elections that are clean in Brazil, or we are not doing elections at all,” he told supporters in the capital, Brasilia.

For weeks, Bolsonaro has emphatically questioned Brazil’s electronic voting system, in place since 1996, claiming the elections were marred by fraud, most recently his own in 2018. He says he should have won without second round. The country’s electoral court ordered him last month to present any evidence of fraud, which he has yet to do.

This week, Bolsonaro said on a live social media broadcast that he could reject the 2022 election results if he loses.

Bolsonaro lobbied for Congress to approve a constitutional reform that would add impressions of every vote to the electronic system. If the change were implemented, a receipt for each electronic vote would be visible to the voter before being deposited in a sealed ballot box.

Bolsonaro and other reform supporters say it would allow a manual recount if irregularities are suspected. Those against it, including current and future presidents of the electoral tribunal, all three of whom are also Supreme Court judges, say the current system already allows for an audit and the change would only create leeway for unfounded allegations of fraud.

Bolsonaro drags his nemesis, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in early polls, and his fraud allegations have led analysts to express concern that he could lay the groundwork for his own version of the January 6 Capitol riot in Washington where supporters of Donald Trump claimed he was denied victory.

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