Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro was said to have had a “clear purpose” of misleading voters regarding the integrity of the country's electoral system during a Livestream on social media earlier this year, according to a police report released Friday.
Bolsonaro had a “direct and relevant” role in spreading disinformation about the country’s electoral process during live streams on social media, according to Federal Police Commissioner Denisse Ribeiro, who wrote the document to which Reuters reported to have had access and which has been forwarded to Supreme Federal Court (STF) Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is leading an inquiry into the alleged fake news.
Bolsonaro has said multiple times that Brazil’s electronic voting system was rigged during the 2018 presidential election, which he won, claiming he should have been elected in the first round, but never supporting his statements with any evidence and has warned he might not accept the results of next year's elections if the electronic system is not changed.
Bolsonaro currently trails former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls. Lula, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, has 48% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro's 22%, according to a poll published Thursday by Datafolha. In other words, if the elections were held today, Lula would win in the first round. Datafolha’s previous poll in September found Lula with 44 percent of the vote, compared with 26 percent for Bolsonaro.
Ribeiro said the president questioned the actions of a series of civil servants involved in the electoral process, while promoting misinformation backed by his conservative supporters. “This investigation allowed us to identify that His Excellency President Jair Messias Bolsonaro had a direct and relevant action in promoting disinformation, following a pattern already used by other countries’ governments,” she said, most presumably with former US President Donald Trump in mind.
The federal police investigation was prompted by a video broadcast by Bolsonaro in August in which he raised a number of questions about the safety of the electronic voting system used in Brazil since 1996.