23 Nov

Election in Argentina fuels debate on fraud and accusations of Lula’s interference

Updated 27 de November, 2023 at 11:26 am

  • Actions of the far right are at the center of the national debate: congress representatives and ordinary profiles associated with Bolsonaro support Javier Milei against risk of “new Venezuela” and of a government “aligned with the left and the São Paulo Forum”;
  • Milei’s defeat in the first round frustrates supporters and leads to commemorations of Lula’s allies, who spoke of a victory of the current president and of democracy.
  • Jair Bolsonaro’s and Milei’s supporters questioned the result and blamed the “left” for “stealing, tearing and erasing ballots”, prompting an increase of 186% in the Brazilian debate on election fraud.
  • Critics of President Bolsonaro claimed that the presence of Eduardo Bolsonaro and the support for the former president contributed to Milei’s defeat in the second round, making fun of the “new Bolsonarist defeat”;


Evolution of posts about the elections in Argentina on X
Period: October 22 to 23 until 3pm | 346.3 thousand mentions

Source: X | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • Even before the end of the first round, the volume of posts made on October 22 at 7pm generated a significant peak of mentions. Brazilians favorable to Milei’s candidacy published negative statements made by the Argentine politician against Lula and reached a high level of performance and engagement;
  • The highest volume of publications happened on October 22 between 10pm and 10:59pm, encompassing the initial reaction to the result. Supporters of the Federal Government and critics of Milei posted the messages that stood out the most. Users celebrated Sérgio Massa’s leadership, treating it as a victory for Lula;
  • The debate recorded on October 23 remained at a stable pace and saw a dispute in terms of engagement. Political players close to Jair Bolsonaro talked about victory in the second round, while supporters made fraud accusations. Lula’s allies made fun of the “Bolsonarist defeat” and celebrated the “victory for democracy”.


Major terms associated with the elections in Argentina on X
Period: October 22 to 23 until 3pm | 346.3 thousand mentions

Source: X | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • The most frequent terms in the debate indicated the relevance of the Argentine presidential election for the Brazilian political debate. Accusations of election fraud also stood out;
  • In associations between the presidential race in the neighboring country and national politics, political commentators stood out by evaluating potential impacts for Brazil, publishing the expectations of the Federal Government regarding the election, and commenting on Eduardo Bolsonaro’s participation in the race;
  • With a significant volume of publications, Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters commented on statements made by Milei and other reports of election fraud. The posts mentioned the stealing, erasing and tearing of ballots for the far right candidate in association with an alleged “fraud” by the Argentine left and by Brazilian players such as Lula. In the general debate about national politics, mentions associated with the topic of election fraud increased by 186% between October 21 and 22.


Major posts associated with the elections in Argentina on Facebook
Period: October 22 and 23 until 3pm | 1,638 posts

Source: Facebook | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • Right-wing congress representatives allied with former President Jair Bolsonaro predominated on Facebook posts about the elections in Argentina. In this context, some of the content made associations between Sergio Massa, the candidate connected with the current administration, and President Lula and the São Paulo Forum. The presence of Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (the son of the former Brazilian president) to follow the elections also had repercussions on the platform;
  • Milei’s supporters in Brazil saw his potential victory as “hope” for Latin America, showing an optimistic attitude towards the victory of the far-right candidate before the announcement of the first round results. After the confirmation of the second round between Milei and Massa, the Brazilian profiles started raising suspicions about the result, claiming there was interference of Lula;
  • To a lesser extent, congress representatives allied with the Lula administration celebrated Massa’s victory in the first round, stating that Argentines are fighting against “the far right and the loss of rights”. In turn, the media outlets expressed surprise with the result favoring Massa.


Major posts associated with the elections in Argentina on Instagram
Period: October 22 and 23 until 3pm | 924 posts

Source: Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV ECMI


  • On Instagram, pages of congress representatives allied with former President Bolsonaro still dominated the posts with the highest volume of interactions. However, entertainment pages with a history of opposing Bolsonaro were more prominent on the platform;
  • Many profiles reproduced a statement attributed to Milei saying that he will not negotiate with Lula or any other communist leader. Users also associated Lula with Sergio Massa, who was held responsible for Argentina’s economic situation;
  • Among the profiles allied with Milei that reacted to the result of the first round, some celebrated the result and showed confidence regarding the second round, while others raised suspicions of electoral fraud;
  • Entertainment and news profiles adopted a more neutral stance. However, users mentioned a TV channel’s cut during Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro’s speech defending gun ownership as a sign of his lack of popularity. They also made fun of the family’s support for Milei, seen as “bad luck”.