Bolsonaro warns U.S.-like political crisis could happen in Brazil

FILE PHOTO: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro looks on as he adjusts his protective face mask during a ceremony launching a program to expand access to credit at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday the lack of trust in the vote count in the U.S. election led to Wednesday’s mob attack on Congress and warned that the same could happen in his country.

The far-right leader repeated claims of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 vote and said Brazil’s electronic voting system, internationally praised for its efficiency and speed in counting ballots, can be manipulated.

Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a harrowing assault on American democracy. A shaken Congress early on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Bolsonaro, an admirer of Trump and whose anti-establishment style of politics he has mimicked, advocates a return to printed ballots for the 2022 presidential election, in which he plans to seek a second term.

“What happened in the American elections? Basically, what was ... the cause of the whole crisis? The lack of confidence in the vote,” he told supporters outside his residence.

Bolsonaro said, without giving any evidence, that there were people who voted three or four times, and dead people had voted.

“Here, in Brazil, if you have electronic voting, it will be the same. Fraud exists,” he said. “If we don’t have the ballot printed in 2022, a way to audit the votes, we’re going to have bigger problems than the United States,” he said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Dan Grebler