Jul 26, 2022 - World

Brazil's Bolsonaro echoes Trump's election fraud claims

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro holds up a Brazilian flag while speaking at a rally this weekend. He is surrounded by people

Bolsonaro on stage during a campaign event in Rio de Janeiro, July 25. Photo: Fernando Souza/picture alliance via Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro officially launched his re-election campaign this weekend by hinting at a possible showdown over unsubstantiated claims of potential election fraud.

Why it matters: Polls show Bolsonaro trailing leftist ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead of the Oct. 2 election.

Driving the news: In a speech Sunday, Bolsonaro told his followers to "take to the streets” on Sept. 7 — Brazil’s independence day — “for the last time."

  • Some political analysts took that as call for an attack on electoral authorities before the vote.

The big picture: Experts have been warning about Bolsonaro’s preemptive attacks on election integrity for months.

  • He's claimed multiple times — without evidence — that the electronic voting system is ripe for tampering.
  • The system has been in place since 1996 and used in over a dozen major elections, with no proven reports of fraud.
  • Bolsonaro last week met with foreign diplomats, including a U.S. representative, to present alleged evidence of potential fraud. The State Department in a briefing after the meeting said the Brazilian electoral system is a model for the world.

The chief elections officer, Edson Fachin, has repeatedly warned of potential attacks akin to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

  • One of Bolsonaro's sons, Flávio, a senator, said it could become "impossible to control" how the president's supporters react to October’s results.

Zoom out: While Latin American candidates in the past have claimed fraud after elections, Bolsonaro’s claims echo those of ex-President Trump. The two were friendly, and Bolsonaro was one of few world leaders to support Trump’s false fraud claims in the 2020 election.

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