Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Bolsonaro loser

Supporters of outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro take part in a demonstration against the results of the runoff election, outside Army headquarters in Brasília, on November 15, 2022. (Photo: Mateus Bonomi/Andalou Agency via Getty Images)

'Straight From Donald Trump's Playbook': Brazil's Bolsonaro Contests Validated Election Loss

"No more dubious gamesmanship, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy," said the leader of President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's party. "The election was decided by the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future."

Brett Wilkins

In a move that critics compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump's unsuccessful efforts to overturn the 2020 election, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday officially contested his loss to leftist challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, citing a software bug in the country's electronic voting machines that independent experts say had no effect on the contest's outcome.

The results of last month's runoff election—which da Silva, the Workers' Party (PT) candidate and former two-term president, won by more than 2.1 million votes—have been validated by Brazil's Superior Electoral Court (TSE). That means Bolsonaro's challenge is highly unlikely to succeed.

TSE President Alexandre de Moraes said in a statement Tuesday that "the electronic voting machines were used in both the first and second rounds of the 2022 election."

"Thus," he added, "under penalty of dismissal of the complaint, the plaintiff must add to the complaint so that the request covers both rounds, within 24 hours."

Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of Brazil's former U.S.-backed military dictatorship—in which he served as an army officer—repeatedly threatened to reject the results of the election if he did not win.

Some observers fear the lame-duck incumbent's election challenge could spark protests by supporters similar to demonstrations by truck drivers and others in the days following the October 30 runoff—or even an insurrection akin to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by backers of Trump's "Big Lie" that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen.

The international hacktivist collective Anonymous called Bolsonaro's gambit "straight from Donald Trump's playbook," an assessment echoed by progressives in Brazil and abroad.

"Bolsonaro's action at the TSE is chicanery that must be punished as bad faith litigation," asserted PT national president Gleisi Hoffman. "No more dubious gamesmanship, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy. The election was decided by the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future."

Congressmember-elect Erika Hilton, a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party and a São Paulo city councilmember, sardonically suggested Tuesday that Bolsonaro—who has been unusually quiet since losing—was "coming up with the brilliant idea of annulling votes only in the electronic ballot boxes he lost."

Hilton, one of three transgender progressives elected to Brazil's Congress last month, accused Bolsonaro of trying to "translate Trump's tactic into Portuguese," adding, "which also didn't work."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'On Her Way Home': WNBA Star Brittney Griner Freed in US-Russia Prisoner Swap

"Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner," said U.S. President Joe Biden. "She is safe. She is on a plane."

Jessica Corbett ·


Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·


Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo