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Brazil's Bolsonaro escalates rhetoric over electoral fraud

Brazil's Bolsonaro escalates rhetoric over electoral fraud
July 30, 2021 --- Web Desk

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro pleaded on Thursday for the adoption of printed ballots that can be counted, alleging that it is necessary to avoid fraud in the country's electronic voting system in next year's election.

"I want elections next year, but clean, democratic and sincere elections," he said in his weekly social media webcast to supporters.

Bolsonaro showed a series of internet video clips as alleged evidence of past fraud, maintaining that democracy was at risk in Brazil.

Critics say that Bolsonaro, like former US President Donald Trump, is sowing election doubts to pave the way for him not to accept defeat in 2022.

Bolsonaro has insisted for months that Brazil should adopt the paper ballot, even though a constitutional amendment changing the electoral system has not gained much traction in Congress.

He advocates a mixed system in which voters submit ballots at electronic urns, which also print out votes that can be counted if the result is challenged.

Brazil's top electoral authority, the TSE, has refuted unfounded allegations by Bolsonaro that there was fraud in the 2014 election, saying electronic voting can be audited well. Even the loser in 2014, Aécio Neves, who was defeated by Lula's candidate Dilma Rousseff in a close election, said it was fair.

The Estado de S Paulo story said Defence Minister Walter Braga Netto, a former army general, had said this to House Speaker Arthur Lira via an interlocutor. Reuters was unable to independently verify the story, which cited anonymous sources.

Both Lira and Braga Netto denied the report.

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