Supreme Court orders President Jair Bolsonaro should be investigated for attacks on country's voting system and claims that it is fraud-plagued.
President Jair Bolsonaro should be investigated for unproven claims that Brazil's electronic voting system is riddled with fraud, the country's top court has ruled, adding the far-right leader to an ongoing probe on the spread of fake news by his government.
The ruling on Wednesday by Justice Alexandre de Moraes came after Bolsonaro stepped up his long-time attacks on Brazil's voting system, claiming –– without evidence –– that it is fraud-plagued and insisting there will be no elections next year as scheduled if it is not overhauled.
Bolsonaro's popularity numbers slides
The Superior Electoral Court had asked the Supreme Court to issue the ruling, after itself putting the president under investigation for his campaign against Brazil's voting system.
The Supreme Court agreed, finding Bolsonaro should face investigation for slander and inciting criminal acts for his undocumented claims of massive vote fraud.
The electoral court's own probe will investigate the president for abuse of office, improper use of official communication channels, corruption, fraud and other potential crimes.
Bolsonaro has long criticised electronic voting, introduced in Brazil in 1996.
He has stepped up his attacks in the build-up to the October 2022 elections, insisting on "printable and auditable" paper ballots as a backstop to the electronic system.
Opinion polls place the 66-year-old leader well behind leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the presidential race.
Bolsonaro's popularity numbers have been sliding, and he is under fire on various fronts, including a Senate investigation into his government's widely criticised handling of Covid-19.
There are fears Bolsonaro could try to use fraud claims to undermine next year's election if he loses, following in the footsteps of former US president Donald Trump, with whom he is often compared.