President Jair Bolsonaro should be investigated, according to a Brazilian Supreme Court justice, for his unproven claims that the country’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.
Bolsonaro missed a deadline on Monday to present any proof of his claims, which resulted in the ruling on Wednesday. The Supreme Court will now oversee an investigation into the spread of “fake news” about the court and its members, as well as a rumored “digital militia” funded by private companies.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly claimed that the Brazilian electoral system is rigged without presenting any evidence. The President, who is expected to run for re-election in 2022, has also hinted that votes may be tampered with.
According to Reuters, he was enraged by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow an investigation into his claims.
“This investigation is not within the bounds of the constitution, so the antidote to this is also not within the bounds of the constitution,” Bolsonaro said on social media, without specifying further the nature of the threat, Reuters said.
“There’s no way of proving whether the elections were rigged or not,” Bolsonaro said on public television last Friday. In a Sunday address to his followers, he also stated that if paper vote receipts are not reintroduced, next year’s election will be canceled.
Observers fear that Bolsonaro, dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics,” will challenge the results of next year’s presidential election if he loses, in the same way that former US President Donald Trump, a Bolsonaro ally, did. Bolsonaro has threatened to call off the presidential election next year on several occasions.
Justice Alexandre de Moraes’ Supreme Court decision lists 11 possible crimes committed by the President, including libel, defamation, insult, incitement to crime, criminal association, and slanderous denunciation.
“The pronouncement of the President of the Republic, JAIR MESSIAS BOLSONARO, revealed itself as one of the occasions in which the agent positioned himself in a way, in theory, criminal and offensive to the Institutions, in particular the SUPREME FEDERAL COURT,” Moraes wrote.
Bolsonaro has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks as his government has been accused of corruption over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been widely criticized.