Does Bolsonaro make Trump? Brazil’s current president is silent after his challenger Lula’s narrow victory. His own ministers and advisers are said to have tried to persuade Bolsonaro to give in.
After his defeat in the presidential elections in Brazil, head of state Jair Bolsonaro went into hiding. On Monday (local time), the incumbent president neither appeared in public nor commented on the narrow election victory of his challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
According to media reports, he spent the morning at his residence in Brasília and then drove to the President’s office for talks. Accordingly, several ministers and advisers tried to persuade him to concede defeat.
In the runoff election on Sunday, Lula received 50.9 percent of the votes, the right-wing incumbent received 49.1 percent, according to the electoral office. Even before the vote, Bolsonaro had repeatedly cast doubt on the electoral system and indicated that he might not recognize the result.
Bolsonaro supporters block hundreds of streets
The feared outbreaks of violence did not initially materialize, but truck drivers blocked hundreds of roads across the country on Monday to protest against Lula’s election victory. The President of the Supreme Electoral Court, Alexandre de Moraes, then ordered the police to end the blockades. Demonstrators also gathered on an expressway near São Paulo airport in the evening. The airport warned of difficult access to the terminals. According to media reports, there were temporary delays and cancellations of flights.
Court President de Moraes personally informed Lula and Bolsonaro about the election results in telephone calls on Sunday, the authority said. During the conversation, he also acknowledged their participation in the democratic process. “The result was announced and accepted,” said de Moraes. Those elected would take office on January 1st.
At least several of his allies, including the powerful speaker of Parliament Artur Lira, acknowledged Bolsonaro’s defeat. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden have already congratulated Lula on his victory.
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández even traveled to the neighboring country on Monday to personally congratulate Lula. The two men met at a hotel in São Paulo and hugged, according to a video posted by Fernández on Twitter on Monday. “All my love, admiration and respect, dear comrade,” wrote the Argentine head of state.
Lula’s team, meanwhile, was already preparing for a change of government without the help of the incumbent leader. “I hope that normalcy will prevail for the good of Brazil and the Brazilian people. If the president, if Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t want to attend, fine,” said Lula’s Labor Party (PT) leader and campaign leader, Gleisi Hoffmann, on Monday on the TV channel Globo News.
Lula will take office on January 1st
At least at the working level there were first contacts. According to media reports, the head of communications for Lula’s election campaign, Edinho Silva, spoke to Bolsonaro’s head of cabinet, Ciro Nogueira, on Monday. In addition, Lula’s future Vice President Geraldo Alckmin phoned Bolsonaro’s deputy Hamilton Mourão.
“The change of government is regulated by law. This enables us to carry out the transfer of power, regardless of the involvement of the president,” said PT boss Hoffmann. Lula will take office on January 1, 2023.