Following the close presidential elections in Brazil, da Silva emerged as the victor. However, Bolsonaro appears unwilling to accept defeat.
Bolsonaro finally spoke after going silent for several days on state media. At the presidential palace in Brasilia, Bolsonaro addressed the media and pledged to “continue to fulfill all the commandments of our constitution,” but he did not congratulate the winning side. According to experts, the incumbent’s speech signaled his cooperation to hand over power to a new person but did not imply that he had already conceded.
The president’s chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, stated that they are prepared to work with the new administration during the transition period. However, Nogueira claims they are waiting for da Silva’s signal to initiate the transition.
“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro authorized me, when it is time, based on the law, to start the transition process,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro refused to contest the election results. Instead, he appreciated his supporters and chastised his detractors. During his speech, he did not mention da Silva, who won the tight presidential race with 50.9% of the vote.
“I have always been labeled undemocratic and, unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the constitution,” the incumbent said.
Da Silva received the most votes in Brazilian history, with over 60 million voting for him. In addition, he broke his last record in 2016, when he won as the nation’s leader.
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Bolsonaro exhibiting strength
Experts added that Bolsonaro’s silence could heighten people’s fears of a possible rebellion by his supporters. Others believe Bolsonaro will claim electoral fraud and refuse to work with da Silva during his transition. However, his speech broke the ice, sending experts into a frenzy of thought, especially given his failure to mention defeat.
“Bolsonaro wants to maintain this illusion that he was wronged, and that’s why he lost. He wants to show strength and in the culture of this movement, admitting you lost is to show weakness,” said Brian Winter, Americas Quarterly editor-in-chief.
“By saying that he’s going to respect the Constitution and by discouraging violence at some of the protests that have been happening, I think that (Bolsonaro) essentially paves the way now for a relatively normal transition,” added Winter.
“Bolsonarismo is a strong opposition force and got even stronger after this election despite Bolsonaro’s loss,” added Bruna Santos, Wilson Institute senior advisor.
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Supporters marching to the streets
Bolsonaro’s speech evoked a flood of responses from his supporters. Many praised him for refusing to proclaim the race’s defeat. His supporters protested, citing “indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process took place.”
“He didn’t recognize the defeat! He didn’t greet his opponent! And he reaffirmed his respect for the Constitution! Let’s go out to the streets, more than ever, safe and certain,” said a supporter.
“Groups of up to 500 protesters, with children on their laps, elderly are participating in it. So the PRF had to act with plenty of caution,” said highway police director Marco Antonio de Barros.
Pro-Bolsonaro supporters have been thronging the streets since Sunday, messing things up for the police. Protesters, according to officials, have blocked over 267 streets in Brazil.
Photo Credit: Andressa Anholete