RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil may face “political instability” if Brazil’s federal electoral court does not provide more transparency about the voting system ahead of the October election, President Jair Bolsonaro’s son Flavio said on Wednesday.
Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, in an interview with TV channel SBT News, said it appeared that the election had already been “rigged” by the court, known as the TSE. He did not give evidence for his assertion, saying only that opinion polls that show his father behind leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva do not reflect the support they see out on the campaign trail.
“The polls are serving to legitimize a coup,” he said.
The comments come amid rising concerns in Brazil and Washington that Jair Bolsonaro may refuse to accept if he loses the upcoming election, setting the stage for a major institutional crisis in Latin America’s biggest country.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly floated the possibility of not accepting the results, alleging that Brazil’s electronic voting system is liable to fraud, without providing any evidence.
He has also suggested that the armed forces, whose current and former members are employed throughout his government, should conduct their own parallel vote count.
Flavio Bolsonaro said talk of post-election violence was a “false narrative.” But he said the TSE would need to do more to assuage voters’ concerns to avoid any problems.
“I think that if we don’t have, from the TSE, that sense of responsibility, with concrete measures to put voters’ minds at ease, it’s possible, yes, that there could be political instability in the country,” he said. “I’m not asking for that, ok? I’m not encouraging it. I’m saying the opposite. It’s up to the TSE to do its job.”
Flavio Bolsonaro said that following their own campaign polls, “we are convinced that we will not lose in the vote.” He said the campaign expected Bolsonaro to secure enough votes to win outright in the first round, without the need for a run-off. To do that he would need to win over 50% of first-round votes.
No Brazilian presidential candidate has won an election outright since Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1998.
The TSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Additional reporting by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)