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 speech since losing Sunday’s election, saying his supporters’ protests were the result of “anger and a sense of injustice”. vote.

However, he stopped short of contesting the election results and authorized chief of staff Ciro Nogueira to begin a 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 the election was decided by electoral authorities, and the delay raised fears that he would try to cast doubt on the narrow result.

Amid 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 disrupted fuel distribution, supermarket supplies and grain exports to major ports, according to industry groups. read more

In his brief national address, Bolsonaro joked that journalists would miss him, thanked those who voted for him and said he would follow the constitution, which stipulates a transition of power on January 1.

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“Today’s popular movements are the result of anger and a sense of injustice about the way the electoral process took place.

He said protesters should refrain from destroying property or “obstructing the right to come and go,” but stopped short of telling them to go home.

“Bolsonaro did not put out this fire. He spoke to his hardliners without criticizing the demonstrators on the highways,” said Andre Cesar, a political risk analyst at Hold Legislative Consultants in Brasilia. “He’s mobilizing more extremist followers.”

Carina Laurinda, 34, who took part in highway demonstrations outside Sao Paulo, said she would continue her protests.

“Even if he says to calm down, not to react, we will still react because we will not accept Lula’s government,” he said.

CONTACT LULA

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

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In a statement, the Supreme Court said it considered Bolsonaro to recognize the outcome of the election by allowing the transition of the government.

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

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

Trump continues to repeat the false claims that the 2020 US election was “stolen” by massive fraud, and has a significant core of supporters who believe them.

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

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Lula’s victory is a stunning turnaround for the 77-year-old former metal worker, who spent 19 months in prison on corruption charges last year.

Lula has vowed to reverse many of Bolsonaro’s policies, including anti-gun measures and poor 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 running mate, former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin, will coordinate the transition announced by the Workers’ Party on Tuesday, with the help of party leader Gleisi Hoffmann and former education minister Aloizio Mercadante.

Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Nogueira, told reporters that the president gave him the go-ahead to begin the transition process with Alckmin after his name was officially presented 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

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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