Brazil military finds no fraud in election, but refuses to rule it out
By Peter Macdiarmid
24 April 2019
The Brazilian president was in Washington on Thursday as part of an annual visit, this time to brief his American counterpart on the results of the April-May 2019 presidential election.
Brazilian media reports that Rodrigo Maia is under pressure to rule out the possibility of fraud in the election. The president himself refused to take a position or raise questions about the election results, suggesting only that the possibility of fraud cannot be excluded as yet.
As the Brazilian election campaign began this week, Maia’s government was already in disarray over a Supreme Court decision that would prevent the administration from using state funds to finance campaign advertisements.
It was a move that the Maia administration viewed as a blow to his campaign but which was opposed by his ministers who said there was no alternative.
In any event, before the court ruling was announced, the government made a last-minute concession that allowed Maia to use the funds to publicize some election-related advertisements on the internet.
The state-run Jornal de Notícias newspaper has reported that the ruling came in the wake-up of a “credible” case of vote-buying, which the paper described as “inconceivable.” According to the newspaper, which claimed a “massive” campaign of fraud, there could have been as many as 500,000 fraudulent votes cast, which could have resulted in two-thirds of the votes going to a candidate other than the incumbent Maia.
The newspaper’s claim was based on a series of irregularities in the election, including ballots with “voting imprecisions” and a “lack of transparency,” in violation of Brazilian electoral law. It also cited the testimony of citizens who said that they had been “coun