Jair Bolsonaro has challenged the Brazilian presidential election he lost last month to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, arguing votes from some machines should be “invalidated”.

Bolsonaro’s claim seems unlikely to get far, as Lula’s victory has been ratified by the superior electoral court and acknowledged by Brazil’s leading politicians and international allies. It could however fuel a small but committed protest movement that has so far refused to accept the result.

Alexandre de Moraes, the supreme court justice who currently leads the TSE, said in a ruling seen by the Reuters news agency that Bolsonaro’s rightwing electoral coalition, which filed the complaint, must present its full audit for both rounds of October’s vote within 24 hours, or he would reject it.

Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of Lula’s Workers party, described Bolsonaro’s election complaint as “chicanery”.

“No more procrastination, irresponsibility, insults to institutions and democracy,” she wrote on Twitter. “The election was decided in the vote and Brazil needs peace to build a better future.

The Brazilian Social Democracy party, a traditional rival to Lula’s Workers party, called Bolsonaro’s complaint “senseless”, tweeting that it would be resisted “by institutions, the international community and Brazilian society”.

Bolsonaro’s coalition said its audit of the 30 October second-round runoff between Bolsonaro and Lula had found “signs of irreparable … malfunction” in some electronic voting machines.

“There were signs of serious failures that generate uncertainties and make it impossible to validate the results generated” in older models of the voting machines, Bolsonaro allies said in their complaint. As a result, they urged that the votes from those models should be “invalidated”.

Bolsonaro has for years claimed that the country’s electronic voting system is liable to fraud, without providing substantiating evidence.

One of Brazil’s most visible presences on social media and at public events over the last four years, Bolsonaro has nearly vanished from view in the past three weeks, with little or no formal agenda or public statements on most days.

Bolsonaro authorised his government to begin preparing for a presidential transition in the days after October’s run-off election.

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