Brazil’s electoral body drops talks to bring EU observers
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s electoral authority said Tuesday that the European Union won’t be monitoring upcoming elections in Latin America’s largest country despite an earlier announcement it had invited the European representatives.
The electoral court said in a statement that “all the necessary conditions were not present to enable a comprehensive electoral observation mission,” which requires the visit of dozens of technicians ahead of the October vote.
In March, the court invited the European Commission to send an exploratory mission to Brazil, to examine the usefulness and feasibility of deploying a full-fledged mission in a hotly anticipated election expected to feature President Jair Bolsonaro and his political nemesis, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
That would have been a first: The European Commission has not observed elections in Brazil before.
Bolsonaro, who will seek a second term, has repeatedly claimed that the country’s electronic voting system is unreliable, but never provided any evidence.
“In a way, the electoral court issued an international warning, a cry for help,” said Oliver Stuenkel, a political analyst who teaches at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university in Sao Paulo.
He said the electoral court backed down under pressure from Brazil’s foreign ministry, which did not approve of the invitation.
In its statement, the court said a smaller and purely “technical” commission from the EU might still be invited in coming months.
Other groups that have previously observed Brazilian elections will be coming back, the court said, including the Organization of American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. It also invited the Carter Center, among others.