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Electoral court head dismisses Bolsonaro’s complaint on radio ads

Alexandre de Moraes, Brazil’s chief electoral justice, dismissed a petition by President Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election campaign claiming that radio stations throughout the country have aired disproportionately from former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s campaign.

Communications Minister Fábio Faria held a press conference on Monday night outside the presidential residence in Brasília to talk about what he described as “a serious issue.” Cable news stations in Brazil chose not to air the press conference live, with the exception of Jovem Pan, which is closely allied to the government.

Mr. He would claim that several radio stations, most notably in Northeastern states (a reliable Workers’ Party stronghold), aired about 18 percent fewer ads from the Bolsonaro campaign than Lula’s, even though candidates are legally entitled to the same airtime during the runoff.

Shortly after Mr. Faria’s announcement, Justice Mora dismissed the petition, arguing that it had not come with “any serious evidence or document.”

“Neither the petition nor the apocryphal [attached] report indicate any radio stations, days or times when the radio ads for the requesting coalition would not have been aired,” Justice Moraes wrote.

Justice Moraes added that the petition could be defined as an electoral crime if it was filed with the aim of disrupting the electoral process, and ordered the Bolsonaro campaign to present evidence for the complaint within 24 hours — that is, by Tuesday night.

Mr. Faria’s announcement sparked reactions from supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro, who published hundreds of posts on social media arguing that this Sunday’s election results should not be respected, since the candidates have not been competing on a level playing field.

However, President Bolsonaro has spent literally billions to load the index for his re-election effort, including adding families to cash-transfer schemes, launching debt renegotiation programs, offering payroll deduction loans, and bringing forward benefit rollouts.

Separately, the Electoral Court on Saturday granted the Lula campaign most of its requests on right-of-reply spots during the time allocated to President Bolsonaro’s televised campaign ads. With this decision, Lula will have slightly more airtime than his rival during the campaign’s final week.

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