Brazil’s Bolsonaro yet to concede after Lula’s election victory

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro on Monday still did not concede defeat in the presidential election, raising fears that the far-right nationalist could contest the victory of his leftist rival, former president Luiz Inacio Lula. yeah Silva.

Tens of thousands of jubilant supporters took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Sunday night to celebrate the stunning return of Lula, a 77-year-old former metal worker who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. His election victory follows a period of spell. prison for corruption convictions that were later overturned.

Bolsonaro left his residence on Monday morning and headed for the presidential palace, but has not yet made any public comments. He is the first Brazilian incumbent to lose a presidential election. Lula has promised to reverse his legacy, including pro-gun policies and lax protection of the Amazon rainforest.

Casting the contest as a fight for democracy after his rival made baseless claims that the electoral system was open to fraud, Lula vowed to unite his deeply divided country and celebrated what he called his “resurrection”.

“I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not only for those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

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The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) declared that Lula won 50.9% of votes, against 49.1% for Bolsonaro. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for January 1st.

Brazilian Election Lula wins Brazilian election

Lula’s victory consolidates a new “pink tide” in Latin America, and means the left will dominate all the region’s major economies after a string of electoral successes from Mexico to Argentina in recent years.

The Argentine president Alberto Fernandez hailed “a new era for the history of Latin America. A time of hope and a future that begins today.” Fernandez announced a trip to neighboring Brazil on Monday to meet Lula.

Congratulations came from foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, who called the election “free, fair and credible”.

China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron all offered congratulations.

However, Bolsonaro’s continued silence has raised fears that the transfer of power may not be entirely clean.

Pro-Bolsonaro truckers blocked highways across Brazil, with at least 70 full or partial blockades according to the Federal Highway Police. Truck drivers are one of Bolsonaro’s main constituencies, and have been known to cause economic chaos in Brazil when they close highways.

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Sources told Reuters there were no confirmed reports of disruption to grain shipments in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest farming state, although some roads there were blocked.

A source in Bolsonaro’s campaign told Reuters the president would not make public remarks until Monday. Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“I don’t know if he will call or if he will recognize my victory,” said Lula, in a speech to supporters on São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue.

Markets were bracing for a volatile week ahead.

Brazil’s real rose as much as 0.5% against the dollar after falling as much as 2% earlier in the session, while the Bovespa (.BVSP) rose 0.3% after sinking 2% in early trade.

Investors eagerly awaited news about Lula’s cabinet and the risk that Bolsonaro would question results.

One close Bolsonaro ally, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, in an apparent nod to the results, wrote on Twitter, “I PROMISE you, I will be the biggest opposition Lula has ever imagined.”

The vote was a rebuke to the fiery far-right populism of Bolsonaro, who emerged from the backbenches of Congress to form a conservative coalition but lost support as Brazil racked up one of the worst deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

International election observers said Sunday’s election was effectively conducted. One observer told Reuters that military auditors had not found any flaws in integrity tests they conducted of the voting system.

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Lula promised a return to state-driven economic growth and social policies that helped lift millions out of poverty during two terms as president. He also promises to fight destruction of the Amazon rainforest, now at a 15-year high, and make Brazil a leader in global climate negotiations.

“These have been four years of hatred, of negation of science,” said Ana Valeria Doria, 60, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro, who celebrated with a drink on Sunday night. “It will not be easy for Lula to manage the division in this country. But for now it is pure happiness.” A former union leader born into poverty, Lula’s presidency was marked by a commodity-driven economic boom and he left office with record popularity.

However, his Labor Party has since been tarred by a deep recession and a record-breaking corruption scandal that jailed him for 19 months on bribery convictions that were overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth, Ana Mano, Gabriel Araujo and Lisandra Paraguassu in São Paulo; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel, Editing by Brad Haynes, Angus MacSwan and Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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