BRASILIA (Reuters) – A former Brazilian defense minister who was appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro will be the secretary-general of the nation’s top electoral court during the country’s presidential election in October, two sources said.
While the position is mainly administrative in nature, the appointment of General Fernando Azevedo comes as Bolsonaro, badly lagging in the polls, questions the safety of the nation’s electronic voting system and casts doubt on whether he would accept the results.
In his new position, Azevedo will oversee election-related contracts and will supervise federal election officials’ information technology department, which maintains Brazil’s electronic voting booths, said the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss internal personnel matters.
Azevedo will not be a justice on the electoral court, known by its Portuguese acronym as the TSE, and his responsibilities are not judicial in nature.
Bolsonaro repeatedly called earlier this year for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if any election result is disputed, a paper trail that would change the current all-electronic voting system.
Bolsonaro had implied he might not accept the result of next year’s presidential election if the system was not changed and he had accused the TSE of being complicit for not backing his proposed modifications.
Bolsonaro’s bid to change the current system was defeated in committee in Congress in August. His detractors pointed out that there was no evidence of fraud under Brazil’s current system.
Azevedo left the Defense Ministry in March. He had previously served as an advisor to Dias Toffoli, a jurist who was at the time serving as the president of Brazil’s Supreme Court, known as the STF.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Stephen Coates)