SAO PAULO – Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla, head of the first electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States in Brazil, told EFE that she hopes the results of the Oct. 2 elections will be respected.
“What always concerns us is being sure the electoral process is carried out in the best possible way, and so becomes an instrument that allows the country to settle its differences, which are more than obvious,” she said during an interview in Sao Paulo.
An election should be, “first of all, a meeting place where people go to vote, and secondly, a process whose results are respected – so from then on Brazilians can again trust their country’s institutions,” Chinchilla said.
Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who leads the surveys with 31 percent of intention to vote and has just resumed campaigning after being hospitalized for 23 days following a stabbing, said in a recent television interview that the only result he will accept will be his own victory, though later he retracted that remark.
The army reserve officer also questioned Brazil’s long-established system of electronic voting, which will be an “important subject of observation and analysis” for the OAS mission, Chinchilla said.
Nonetheless, the delegation starts from the “already established” premise that “electronic voting machines in Brazil are not seen so much as a threat to honest elections but rather as a factor that makes voters feel more secure,” she said.
“It’s a system that has been legitimized and accepted by the public, and up to now there has been no report of manipulation that could have altered electoral results,” Costa Rica’s former president said.
The OAS mission will be deployed in 13 of Brazil’s 27 states, in what will be the organization’s first visit to the country to monitor elections in order to “strengthen, improve and perfect the electoral system.”
“It’s a mission of particular significance for the OAS, a mission we consider historic,” she said.
Excluded from the contest is Brazil’s most popular politician, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving a prison sentence following a corruption conviction he and his supporters denounce as baseless.
With Lula disqualified, his center-left Workers Party chose former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad as its presidential candidate.
He is second in the polling with 21 percent.
Chinchilla met Monday with Haddad’s running mate, Manuela D’Avila, and with centrist presidential candidate Alvaro Dias, and noted that the OAS mission is making “the greatest efforts to meet with all the candidates possible,” or at least with their representatives.