Report Brazil defense minister threatened 2022 vote sparks uproar

Brazil's Defense Minister Walter Souza Braga Netto looks on after a ceremony at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian politicians across the ideological spectrum expressed shock on Wednesday at an unconfirmed report in newspaper Estado de S.Paulo that the defense minister communicated to the speaker of the lower house that next year's scheduled presidential election would not take place without printed ballots.

The report, which cited anonymous sources and which Reuters was unable to independently verify, comes after repeated public allegations by President Jair Bolsonaro that Brazil's electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud. He has provided no proof for those claims.

Estado de S. Paulo reported that Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto, an army general, delivered through an interlocutor a message to House Speaker Arthur Lira that the 2022 presidential election must use printed votes.

Both Lira and Braga Netto denied the report, calling it a "lie."

Braga Netto, speaking at an event in Brasilia, said the armed forces were committed to democracy and freedom.

Bolsonaro has said he may not accept the result of an election using electronic voting in 2022. He is trying to push a bill for printed ballots through Congress.

"There will be printed ballots, because if there are no printed ballots, this is a sign that there will be no election. The message is clear," he said earlier this month.

The Estado de S.Paulo report has sent shockwaves through Brazil, where a coup in 1964 led to 21 years of military rule.

"In a democracy, it is not the military who decides if there will or will not be an election but the constitution which they have sworn to defend and obey," said lawmaker Marcelo Ramos, vice-president of the lower house, in a note.

Senate president Rodrigo Pacheco said on Twitter that Congress is yet to decide if the voting system will change but assured Brazilians that the 2022 election will take place, no matter if with printed or electronic ballots.

Former speaker Rodrigo Maia wrote on Twitter that "Brazil awaits a statement from the minister of defense and commanders of the Armed Forces about today's grave report."

Brazil's electoral court has repeatedly denied that the system is vulnerable to fraud or that there is evidence of fraud in previous elections.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu, writing by Carolina Mandl and Stephen Eisenhammer, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Venezuela says U.S. military plane violated its airspace
Guatemala attorney general removes head of anti-corruption unit
Biden authorizes $100 million in emergency funds for Afghan refugees
Blinken to raise human rights with counterparts in India -U.S. official
Over 71% of Lebanon's population risks losing access to safe water - UNICEF
Senior U.S. diplomat to lead talks with Russia next week -State Department
U.S. military carries out second strike in Somalia this week
U.S. condemns Taliban attacks on former interpreters, Afghans -State Dept
France says boatload of 42 migrants rescued in English Channel
Afghan Air Force hurt by inoperable aircraft - Afghan lawmakers

Stories You'll Enjoy