Brasilia, Nov 1 (EFE).- Brazilian head of state Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday delivered his first remarks since his election defeat two days ago, making no mention of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva or his narrow loss at the polls but vowing to comply with his constitutional duty.
After the right-wing candidate lost Sunday’s presidential runoff by 1.8 percentage points, 45 hours passed before he finally appeared in public and addressed the nation.
In a two-minute speech at the Alvorada Palace, his official residence in Brasilia, the outgoing president did not acknowledge his defeat or congratulate Lula, the longtime standard-bearer of Brazil’s left who was president from 2003 to 2010.
But the former army captain and outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship did not claim victory either.
In his brief remarks, Bolsonaro thanked the 58 million voters who cast their ballot for him on Sunday and said it was an honor to lead a group of people who defend the conservative values of “God, fatherland and family.”
He also referred to groups of truckers who have blocked roads across much of Brazil since early Monday – a protest against the election result that has included calls for the army to intervene and “impede the return of communism.”
Those actions are the result of “indignation and feelings of injustice over the electoral process,” Bolsonaro said, though adding that while “peaceful demonstrations are always welcome” his supporters should not use “the (methods) of the left,” such as land invasions, property destruction and roadblocks.
Bolsonaro has long said that Brazil’s electronic voting machines are vulnerable to being hacked and also insisted during the current election cycle that radio and TV stations did not provide his campaign ads equal air space as required by law.
Election authorities, however, have found no merit to either of those claims.
Following Bolsonaro’s remarks, his chief of staff and the person responsible for the transition process, Ciro Nogueira, made clear in his remarks, which referred to Lula as president-elect, that there would be no attempt to thwart an orderly passing of the baton.
“In accordance with the law, we’ll begin the transition process,” said Nogueira, who amid Bolsonaro’s silence had already begun discussions to that effect with Lula’s campaign on Monday.
On Tuesday, the president-elect’s aides acknowledged the talks with Nogueira and announced that Lula’s transition team will be coordinated by Geraldo Alckmin, the vice president-elect.
Lula’s victory has been recognized by parties across Brazil’s political spectrum, business groups and more than 100 foreign heads of state and government, some of whom – including US President Joe Biden – have already spoken to him by telephone.
Argentina’s leftist president, Alberto Fernandez, even flew to Sao Paulo on Monday to visit Lula and congratulate him in person.
On Tuesday, Lula’s campaign announced that the president-elect will attend the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held from Nov. 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
That appearance will mark the return to the international stage for Lula, who had been barred from running for president in 2018 after being convicted of corruption but got those rights back when the Supreme Court last year ruled the court lacked jurisdiction.
In a subsequent ruling, also in 2021, that high court also found that the judge overseeing the cases against Lula had been biased and threw out evidence that could have been used against him in the future, thereby derailing any prospect of a retrial.
Lula is to be sworn in on Jan. 1. EFE