Bolsonaro’s allies fined £3.6m after ‘bad faith’ election challenge

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

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Allies of Jair Bolsonaro have been fined around £3.6million after tabling a legal challenge following his defeat in last month’s presidential election in Brazil. Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes dished out fines totalling 22.9million reais to the parties in Bolsonaro’s right-wing coalition for what the court described as bad faith litigation.

The electoral court chief rejected an attempt to overturn the result of the election after it was claimed that votes from some machines should be invalidated.

Bolsonaro’s coalition said they had found “signs of irreparable malfunction” in some electronic voting machines during the second-round run-off against ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on October 30.

De Moraes warned Bolsonaro’s allies that they could suffer if they launched their challenge as he demanded they provide additional information.

However, they failed to comply with his request for more information.

Party lawyers later filed a 33-page request citing a software bug in a majority of Brazilian election machines.

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De Moraes wrote in his final decision: “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.”

The Supreme Court justice added that the challenge was “offensive” to democratic norms.

He also claimed the challenge appeared aimed at encouraging anti-democratic protest movements.

De Moraes subsequently ordered an investigation into Bolsonaro’s party president Valdemar Costa, the Guardian has claimed.

However, Costa argued on Wednesday that his intention was merely to prevent the results of the 2022 vote from haunting Brazil in the future.

Gleisi Hoffman, president of Lula’s Workers party, warned that challenging the election result was irresponsible.

She said on Twitter: “No more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy.

“The election was decided in the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.”

Responding to de Moraes’ decision, a political expert warned that questioning the democratic process could not result in severe punishment.

Maurício Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, said: “De Moraes’ message to the political establishment is: the game is over.

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“Questioning the result of the elections is not fair play, and people and institutions who do that will be punished harshly.”

According to the BBC, Bolsonaro has still not conceded defeat but has given the go-ahead for a presidential transition.

Bolsonaro’s defeat last month made him the first incumbent Brazilian President to fail to win re-election.

Lula will now return to Palacio da Alvorada after a 12-year break.

His victory rounds off a remarkable political comeback.

Mr da Silva lost in 1989, 1994 and 1998 before emphatically defeating Sao Paulo Senator Jose Serra in 2002.

He also announced he would stand against Mr Bolsonaro in 2018 as the Workers’ Party candidate.

However, his candidacy was denied and da Silva dropped out of the race after he was arrested and subsequently jailed for corruption and money laundering.

The ex-President was imprisoned for 580 days but his convictions were later annulled by Brazil’s top court after it ruled the presiding judge had been biased and colluded with prosecutors.

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