Bolsonaro beaten

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro prepares to speak publicly for the first time Sunday's presidential run-off election loss, at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, on November 1, 2022. (Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images)

No Concession From Brazil's Bolsonaro--But Staff Say Transition to Proceed

The far-right Brazilian president spoke publicly for the first time since his Sunday electoral loss to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, praising truck drivers and other protesters who caused traffic chaos by blocking major highways.

The chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday said he has received authorization from the defeated far-right leader to start the transition process leading up to the January 1 inauguration of President-Elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and that the current administration would "comply with the law" and the constitution.

"Brazil's democracy appears to be working."

Bolsonaro spoke publicly on Tuesday for the first time since losing Sunday's presidential runoff to Workers' Party co-founder da Silva, making no mention of any concession to his leftist challenger.

Ciro Nogueira, Bolsonaro's chief of staff, followed his boss' speech by declaring that "the president authorized me... based on the law, to start the transition process," and that the administration would "comply with the law of our country."

In his two-minute address, Bolsonaro said, "I want to start by thanking the 58 million Brazilians who voted for me last October 30th." Referring to protests by truck drivers and other supporters, he added that "the current popular movements are the result of indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process took place."

"Peaceful demonstrations will always be welcome," he added, "but our methods cannot be those of the left, which have always harmed the population, such as invasion of property, destruction of patrimony, and restriction of the right to come and go."

The union representing the Federal Highway Police (PRF)--who stand accused of suppressing da Silva voters by dramatically increasing Election Day vehicle stops in the challenger's strongholds--blamed Bolsonaro's refusal to concede for the protests that are causing traffic chaos around the country.

"The posture of the current president of the republic, Jair Bolsonaro, in maintaining silence and not recognizing the results of the polls has made it difficult to pacify the country, encouraging some of his followers to adopt blockade actions on Brazilian roads," Federacao Nacional dos Policiais Rodoviarios Federais said in a statement.

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who also heads Brazil's Superior Electoral Court, threatened PRF chief Silvinei Vasques imprisonment and hourly fines of R$100,000 (USD$19,440) if he did not comply with an order to unblock highways by midnight Tuesday.

In one of the more bizarre demonstrations by Bolsonaro supporters, video posted on social media shows an ecstatic crowd cheering what they believed to be the arrest of de Moraes--who has worked doggedly to stymie any potential right-wing coup--but what was in fact a baseless rumor.

Oliver Stuenkel, a professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation School of International Relations in Sao Paulo, observed that "Bolsonaro's carefully worded statement was so cryptic [because] he needed to speak to very different audiences: radical followers who think Lula stole the election feel Bolsonaro confirmed their beliefs, but his more moderate allies also feel Bolsonaro will not mess with the transition."

Jean Wyllys, a leftist journalist and former member of the lower house of the National Congress from Rio de Janeiro, tweeted: Anyone who expected a clear recognition of their defeat at the polls and a blunt repudiation of the riots from FASCISTA GENOCIDA is naive and still doesn't know who they're dealing with. And it was obvious that he would twist the facts and try to pin the crimes of his diabolical sect on others."

"Anyone who has blatantly lied since the beginning of his term --in fact who owes his entire public life to lying--would not speak the truth now, when, defeated at the polls, he fears being arrested for his crimes," Wyllys added. "And blaming the left for the riots of your sect is just part of the modus operandi."

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