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Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro does not admit it, but hints at cooperation with the transfer of power in his speech

Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro does not admit it, but hints at cooperation with the transfer of power in his speech



CNN

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that he would “continue to fulfill all the commandments of our constitution” in a brief speech at the presidential palace in Brasilia, following a day of silence following his election loss to the leftist former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

He did not explicitly admit defeat, although the event seemed to signal his intention to cooperate in the transfer of power.

Taking the podium after the president, Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira said he would work with the new government and wait for Lula da Silva’s transition team to begin the handover.

“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has authorized me, when the time is right, based on the law, to start the transition process,” Nogueira said.

It should be noted that Bolsonaro’s short speech did not dispute the result of the vote. Instead, he thanked those who voted for him and hit out at critics. “I have always been labeled undemocratic and, unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the constitution,” he said.

Protesters are currently blocking Brazilian highways at 267 points across the country.

He did not congratulate Lula da Silva, who won with 50.9% of the vote, while Bolsonaro got 49.1%.

The president-elect received the most votes in Brazilian history – more than 60 million votes, breaking his own record from 2006 by almost two million votes, according to the final results of the electoral authority.

Bolsonaro’s initial silence added to fears that he would not cooperate in the transfer of power, after he made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud before the vote.

Although his speech on Tuesday was brief, experts speculated about the reasons why he refrained from explicitly acknowledging or challenging the election result.

“Bolsonaro wants to maintain the illusion that he was wronged and that’s why he lost. He wants to show strength and in the culture of this movement, to admit you’ve lost is to show weakness,” Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, told CNN.

“By saying he’s going to respect the Constitution and by discouraging violence at some of the protests that have been going on, I think (Bolsonaro) is basically now paving the way for a relatively normal transition,” Winter said.

Bruna Santos, a senior adviser at the Wilson Institute’s Brazil Center, said Bolsonaro is likely thinking about the long-term future of his movement.

“Bolsonarismo is a strong opposition force and has become even stronger after this election despite Bolsonaro’s loss,” she said.

In the last parliamentary elections, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party increased its representatives in the lower house from 76 to 99, while in the Senate it doubled from seven members to 14. Although Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party also increased its representation in both chambers, conservative-leaning politicians will dominate the next legislature in general.

An aerial view shows supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, mostly truck drivers, blocking the Castelo Branco highway, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian lawmakers and some Bolsonaro allies have already recognized Lula da Silva’s victory. President of the Brazilian Senate Rodrigo Pacheco publicly congratulated Lula da Silva and his supporters, as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives Arthur Lira – a close ally of Bolsonaro.

Some pro-Bolsonaro Telegram groups appeared to encourage Bolsonaro’s speech, which described the ongoing protests as “the result of resentment and a sense of injustice over the way the electoral process was conducted.”

CNN saw messages from supporters praising Bolsonaro for not accepting defeat and green light protests.

“He didn’t recognize defeat! He did not greet the opponent! He reaffirmed respect for the Constitution! Let’s take to the streets, more than ever, safe and secure!” one user wrote.

Protesters have wreaked havoc on the country’s highways since Sunday. Brazil’s highway police said Tuesday morning that protesters blocked roads at 267 points across the country.

The highway police agency itself faced criticism within Brazil for its response, after footage appeared to circulate on Brazilian social media showing officers telling protesters they would not disrupt or quell their protests.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Highway Police Executive Director Marco Antonio de Barros defended his agency’s actions, saying road clearing is a “complex operation.”

“Groups of up to 500 demonstrators, with children on their laps, elderly people, participate in it. So the PRF had to act with a lot of caution,” he said, using the acronym for the highways agency.

Highway Police Inspector General Wendel Matoš added that the institution does not support protests or the closure of federal highways, and that possible protocol violations are being investigated. “Sometimes two or three officers speak or behave in a way that is not in accordance with our orders. We are investigating whether there was misconduct by those officials,” said Matoš.

After Bolsonaro spoke, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil he said that it was important to emphasize the “step of the President of the Republic in guaranteeing the right to come and go in connection with the blockades and, when determining the beginning of the transition, in recognizing the election results”.

President-elect Lula da Silva has not commented on the protests, although he expressed disappointment on Sunday night at Bolsonaro’s initial failure to concede.

The leader of Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffman, said on Tuesday that the party was confident the protests would not interfere with the eventual transfer of power. “We trust the Brazilian institutions,” she said.





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