Brazilian gov’t discounts concerns about Bolsonaro’s return

Brasilia, Mar 29 (EFE).- The government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is not worried about the impending return to Brazil of former President Jair Bolsonaro after spending the last three months in the United States.

“The government and President Lula have neither an opinion nor a concern,” Institutional Relations Minister Alexandre Padilha told a press conference.

Bolsonaro, who refuses to acknowledge his defeat by Lula, who previously governed Brazil from 2003-2011, in the October 2022 election, left Brasilia for Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 30, two days before his successor’s inauguration.

Associates of the right-wing former head of state said less Friday that he will return to Brazil on March 30.

While in Florida, Bolsonaro has bolstered his ties with the US right and offered criticism of Lula’s center-left administration.

Once back in Brazil, he will have to contend with multiple legal probes, including one into whether he incited thousands of his supporters to vandalize Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace on Jan. 8 in what Lula’s government describes as an attempted coup.

Another investigation centers on a donation of precious jewels given to Bolsonaro by Saudi Arabia that he retained illegally, though whether that case goes forward remains in doubt, as he had hi attorney surrender the jewels to authorities last week.

Prosecutors are also looking into allegations of corruption in his administration’s acquisition of Covid-19 vaccine, while cases before the Supreme Electoral Court could see Bolsonaro barred from running from office again.

Ahead of last year’s elections, Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime, cast doubt on the reliability of the electronic voting system the country has used for decades without problems.

Padilha said that the government did not feat disturbances by Bolsonaro supporters if he indeed returns to Brazil on Thursday.

“If there are demonstrations, they will be normal” and the regional authorities in Brasilia will be responsible for ensuring that any protests remain peaceful, the minister said.

Lula’s administration “is only concerned about governing the country,” Padilha said. EFE ed/dr

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