Da Silva won the weekend’s tightly-fought presidential elections in Brazil. However, Bolsonaro doesn’t appear ready to admit defeat.
After several days of silence, Bolsonaro appeared on state media to give a speech. First, Bolsonaro gave a speech to reporters at the presidential palace in Brasilia, saying he would “continue to fulfill all the commandments of our constitution.” Still, he skipped congratulating the winning side. According to experts, the incumbent’s speech indicated his cooperation in transferring the power to a new person but did not signify that he had already conceded.
The president’s chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, stated that they remain willing to cooperate with the new administration during this transition. The transition, however, will begin once da Silva gives the all-clear, according to Nogueira.
“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro authorized me, when it is time, based on the law, to start the transition process,” he said.
In the meantime, Bolsonaro did not contest the election’s conclusion. Instead, he rapped critics and commended his supporters. But Bolsonaro failed to indicate da Silva in his speech.
“I have always been labeled undemocratic and, unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the constitution,” the incumbent said.
With more than 60 million votes cast in his favor, Da Silva received the most votes ever placed in Brazil.
Bolsonaro wants to show strength
Bolsonaro’s silence, according to experts, may make individuals more frightened of a potential rebellion by his camp. Others posit that Bolsonaro may assert electoral fraud and refuse to collaborate with da Silva for his transition. He did, however, break the ice with his speech, which, given his omission of mention of defeat. This sent experts into a tizzy of thought.
“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.
Protesting the outcome
Bolsonaro’s speech elicited strong reactions from his followers. Many praised him for holding off on admitting defeat. His supporters claim their protest was “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.
Bolsonaro supporters filled the streets since Sunday, creating issues for the police. Authorities claim that protesters in Brazil blocked over 267 streets.
Photo Credit: Andressa Anholete
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