Brazil’s Bolsonaro does not concede to Lula, but authorizes transition

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro refused to concede defeat on Tuesday in his first public comments since losing Sunday’s election, saying protests by his supporters were the result of “anger and a sense of injustice”. opinion

However, he stopped short of contesting the election results and authorized his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, to begin the transition process with representatives of leftist president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist, took more than 44 hours to comment after being elected by election officials, a delay that raised fears he would try to cast doubt on the narrow result.

During 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.

Highway blockades have disrupted fuel deliveries, supermarket supplies and the flow of grain exports to major ports, industry groups say. Read on

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 stipulates a transition of power on January 1.

“The current populist movements are the fruit of anger and a sense of injustice over the way the electoral process took place,” he said.

He said protesters should refrain from destroying property or “obstructing the right of way”, but did not ask them to go home.

“Bolsonaro didn’t put out this fire. He spoke to his staunchest supporters without criticizing the protesters on the highway,” said Andre Cesar, a political risk analyst at Hold Legislative Advisors in Brasilia. “He’s keeping his more extreme followers together.”

Karina Laurinda, 34, who took part in the highway protests outside Sao Paulo, said she would continue to protest.

“Even if he said to be quiet, not to react, we are still going to react because we will not accept a Lula government,” she said.

Contact Lula

Bolsonaro’s chief of staff and vice president, Hamilton Maurao, have begun contacting the Lula camp to discuss the transition. Other allies, including the speaker of the lower house of Congress, have since Sunday called on the Bolsonaro government to respect the election results.

In a statement, the Supreme Court said that by authorizing the transition of government, Bolsonaro was recognizing the election result.

Ahead of Sunday’s vote, Bolsonaro repeatedly made baseless claims that the electoral system was open to fraud and accused election officials of favoring his leftist rival.

Bolsonaro did not directly repeat those claims on Tuesday. But his reference to “injustice” in the electoral process showed that he had learned from the post-presidency of US President Donald Trump, his ideological ally, according to Leonardo Barreto, a political analyst at Vector Consultancy in Brazil.

Trump continues to repeat false claims that he “stole” the 2020 US election through widespread fraud, retaining a significant portion of his supporters who believe him.

“He’s going to copy Trump to keep his conservative movement alive for the next four years,” Barretto said, predicting the 2026 election would be a rematch between Bolsonaro and Lula’s Workers’ Party.

Lula’s victory marks a stunning comeback for the 77-year-old former metal worker, who spent 19 months in prison on corruption charges before being overturned last year.

Lula has pledged to reverse many of Bolsonaro’s policies, including pro-gun measures and weak protection of the Amazon rainforest. His aides confirmed on Tuesday that he will attend this month’s COP27 United Nations climate summit in Egypt.

Lula’s centrist runner-up, former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alcmin, will coordinate the transition, the Workers’ Party announced on Tuesday, with the help of party leader Glacy Hoffmann and former education minister Aloizio Mercadante.

Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Noguera, told reporters that the president had authorized him to begin the transition process with Alcmin after his name was formally presented on Thursday.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito, Marcela Ayres and Anthony Bodley; Editing by Brad Haynes, Alastair Bell and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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