More than half a million people ink petition in "defence of democracy" after Brazil’s President Bolsonaro attacks the South American country's election and judicial systems.

Bolsonaro, who came to power in 2019, has regularly attacked the electronic voting system in use since 1996, sparking fears he may not accept the result if he loses the October vote.
Bolsonaro, who came to power in 2019, has regularly attacked the electronic voting system in use since 1996, sparking fears he may not accept the result if he loses the October vote. (Reuters Archive)

More than half a million people have signed a petition in "defence of democracy" in Brazil in response to President Jair Bolsonaro's attacks on public institutions and the electoral system.

With the presidential election just two months away, in which Bolsonaro trails former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls, the petition launched by members of the faculty of law at the University of Sao Paulo had passed 546,000 signatures midway through Saturday.

"We are going through a moment of great peril for normal democracy, a risk for the republic's institutions and insinuations about not respecting the election results," the petition's authors wrote, without ever mentioning Bolsonaro.

Among them were former supreme court judges and several artists, including well-known singer Chico Buarque.

"Unfounded and unproven attacks have brought into question the electoral process and the democratic state of law achieved with such a great struggle by Brazilian society," the petition reads.

"Threats against other powers ... incitement to violence and institutional rupture are intolerable."

READ MORE: Bolsonaro targets Brazil's voting system, rival Lula in election campaign

Bolsonaro on voter fraud possibility 

Bolsonaro, who came to power in 2019, has regularly attacked the electronic voting system in use since 1996, sparking fears he may not accept the result if he loses.

Recent opinion polls have seen him trail Lula, president from 2003-10, by a large margin.

Other signatories included the banking federation and the influential federation of Sao Paulo industries.

Those are seen as significant given Bolsonaro garnered much support from the business sector ahead of his election four years ago.

Bolsonaro has been defiant, saying in a speech earlier this week: "We are for transparency, legality, we respect the constitution."

READ MORE: Bolsonaro again targets Brazil's voting system ahead of October election

Source: AFP