Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro refused to concede defeat on Tuesday in his first public remarks since losing Sunday’s election, saying his supporters’ protests were the result of “outrage and a sense of injustice”. the voice
But he stopped short of contesting the election results and authorized his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, to begin a transition process with representatives of the leftist president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist, took more than 44 hours to comment after electoral authorities decided on the election, and the delay has raised fears he will seek to cast doubt on the slim result.
In his silence, supporters blocked highways to protest his defeat, with some calling for a military coup to prevent former president Lula from returning to power.
The highway blockades disrupted fuel distribution, supply to supermarkets and the flow of grain exports to major ports, industry groups said. read more
In his brief national address, Bolsonaro joked that journalists would miss him, thanked those who voted for him and said he would abide by the constitution, which calls for a January 1 transition.
“The current popular movements are the fruit of resentment and injustice over the way the electoral process was conducted,” he said.
He said protesters should avoid vandalizing property or “obstructing the right to come and go” but stopped short of telling them to go home.
“Bolsonaro didn’t put out this fire. He spoke to his die-hard supporters without criticizing the demonstrators on the highways,” said Andre Cesar, a political risk analyst at Brazil’s Hold Legislative Advisors. “He’s mobilizing his more extremist followers.”
Karina Laurinda, 34, who took part in the highway demonstrations outside Sao Paulo, said she would continue to protest.
“Even if he says calm down, don’t react, we will still react because we will not accept Lula’s government,” she said.
Bolsonaro’s chief of staff and vice president, Hamilton Mourao, began contacting Lula’s camp to discuss the transition. Other allies, including the speaker of the lower house of Congress, have since Sunday urged Bolsonaro’s government to respect the election results.
In its statement, the Supreme Court said it believed that by allowing the change of government, Bolsonaro recognized the results of the election.
Ahead of Sunday’s vote, Bolsonaro repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that the electoral system was open to fraud and accused electoral authorities of favoring his leftist opponent.
Bolsonaro did not directly repeat these claims on Tuesday. But according to Leonardo Barreto, a political analyst at Brazil’s Vector Consultancy, his allusion to “injustice” in the electoral process showed that he had learned from US President Donald Trump, his ideological ally, after his presidency.
Trump continued to make false claims that in 2020 The US election was “stolen” by widespread fraud and retains a large core of supporters who believe in it.
“He’s going to copy Trump for the next four years to keep his conservative movement alive,” Barreto said, predicting the 2026 election to be a showdown between Bolsonaro and Lula’s Workers’ Party.
Lula’s victory is a stunning comeback for the 77-year-old former metal worker, who spent 19 months in prison on corruption convictions before they were overturned last year.
Lula has promised to reverse many of Bolsonaro’s policies, including pro-gun measures and lax protection of the Amazon rainforest. His aides confirmed on Tuesday that he will attend this month’s United Nations COP27 summit in Egypt.
Lula’s centrist candidate, former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin, will coordinate the transition, the Workers’ Party announced Tuesday, with the help of party leader Gleisi Hoffmann and former education minister Alois Mercadante.
Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Nogueira, told reporters that the president had authorized him to begin the transition process with Alckmin as soon as his name was officially announced on Thursday.
Reporting by Ricardo Brito, Marcela Ayres and Anthony Boadle in Brazil and Brian Ellsworth, Nayara Figuereido and Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo; Edited by Brad Haynes, Alistair Bell and Rosalba O’Brien
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