A Brazilian congressional committee on Thursday voted against a constitutional amendment to accept printed ballots, in a major defeat for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
The 34-member committee voted 23 to 11 to suspend the amendment Bolsonaro had argued for for weeks, claiming the country’s electronic voting system is prone to fraud.
Critics say Bolsonaro, like former US President Donald Trump, is sowing doubts in case he loses next year’s presidential election. He has threatened not to accept the result if the system is not changed.
The amendment called for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if an election result is contested, a paper trail that would change the current all-electronic voting system.
Bolsonaro, who is expected to seek a second term, spent hours on social media attacking the electronic voting system, providing no evidence of fraud.
With his popularity dwindling after he oversaw the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak, polls show he’s following former left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, although neither has officially announced they will participate.
“Bolsonaro has threatened the election because he has already lost. He wants to keep himself in power. He needs to be restrained,” Socialism and Liberty Party Congresswoman Ivan Valente told the committee.
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro raged against a Supreme Court inquiry into his conduct and threatened to respond beyond the confines of the constitution, escalating a clash between the far-right leader and the judiciary.
Bolsonaro’s comments came after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes approved an investigation into the president’s baseless allegations that Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.
The president has called on people to take to the streets to defend his proposal and accused members of the Supreme Court of wanting to help Lula’s Workers’ Party return to power.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)