President Jair Bolsonaro consented to a handover of power on Tuesday, two days after losing Brazil’s presidential election, alleviating worries that the far-right leader would fight the results after claiming for months that the only way he could lose would be if the vote were stolen.
In a two-minute statement, Mr. Bolsonaro praised his supporters, urged demonstrators to remain peaceful, lauded his achievements, blasted the opposition, and asserted that he has always adhered to the Constitution. There was no acknowledgement that he had lost the vote or that the election was free and fair.
Instead, after Mr. Bolsonaro’s speech, his chief of staff mounted the podium and said that authority will be transferred to the next administration.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, said, “President Bolsonaro has authorised me to initiate the transition process as requested and as required by law.”
The issue now is how the president’s remarks will be greeted by his thousands of followers who have stopped hundreds of roads throughout Brazil in an attempt to “paralyse” the nation and reverse the election.
Mr. Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that these demonstrations “are the result of outrage and emotions of electoral unfairness.” However, he encouraged his followers to cease disturbances. He said, “Peaceful protests are always welcome.” But our techniques cannot be those of the left, such as invasion of private property, damage of commodities, and limitations on the ability to travel.
His remarks seemed to have little effect on the demonstrators, who continued to block highways into Tuesday night despite his remarks. “It’s just what we anticipated. “The president has always recognised our support,” said Wellington Rodrigues, a 41-year-old protester who had helped block a highway outside of So Paulo while sipping a beer. We want to proceed because we have the right to protest.
The decision by the Bolsonaro government to begin passing power to the leftist candidate who beat him, President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was good news for Brazil’s democracy. Despite a lack of proof, the president has long claimed that Brazil’s electoral system is riddled with fraud, and before to Sunday’s poll he intimated that the left was attempting to rig the vote.
So, when the normally chatty president fell quiet for two days, the country was on edge, wondering whether he would contest his defeat, similar to what Donald J. Trump did after losing to Joe Biden.
Twelve years after leaving office, Mr. da Silva, who is widely known as “Lula,” is returning to rule Brazil. The Brazilian government can now begin preparing for a smooth handover to Mr. da Silva. He will be inaugurated on January 1.
Mr. Bolsonaro did not mention Mr. da Silva on Tuesday.
Those who have followed Mr. Bolsonaro’s three decades in politics — during which he had never lost an election before Sunday — were not surprised by his response. He has traditionally been an emotionally-driven politician who rants against the political system and portrays himself as the victim of a left-wing plot.
According to four government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations, in the two days after Mr. Bolsonaro’s defeat, his ministers and a Supreme Court judge urged him to capitulate. The authorities emphasised that the ultimate choice over what Mr. Bolsonaro would say rests solely with the president.
Now, after sanctioning the government transition, Mr. Bolsonaro will have little opportunity to reverse direction, since the whole Brazilian government, including Congress, the courts, the military, and his own administration, will be pressing forward. And other top government officials said that the president’s remarks were as near as he would go to a concession.
“The president used the past tense of the word ‘to terminate’.” “He said ‘ended,'” Edson Fachin, a Brazilian Supreme Court judge, told reporters Monday evening after a meeting with the president. Therefore, let’s consider the future.
Tuesday, the second-in-command of the federal highway police, Marco Territo, told reporters that his organisation was grappling with the demonstrations. He said, “This is a pretty sophisticated procedure.” “We have issues with as many as 500 demonstrators, blocked vehicles, and armed minors.”
Protesters also demonstrated outside the army’s headquarters in Braslia on Tuesday, and a senior military leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press, expressed concern that such demonstrations could grow if Mr. Bolsonaro does not issue a more direct condemnation.
The demonstrations have affected transportation and business throughout the nation, as gasoline, food, and other goods-carrying trucks have been stuck in the miles-long traffic jams.
Tuesday, 80 percent of gas stations in the southern state of Santa Catarina had run out of gasoline, according to a spokesman for Sindipetro-SC, a fuel sellers’ organisation.
Braspress, one of Brazil’s top freight carriers, said that 60% of its operations had been disrupted by the blockades. And the Butantan Institute, a large vaccine manufacturer, reported on Tuesday that a truck carrying embryonic chicken eggs needed to produce approximately 1.5 million vaccines against a new flu strain was stuck behind a blockade near So Paulo for approximately eight hours, putting the eggs at risk of spoiling.
Edeon Vaz Ferreira, who directs a logistics organisation affiliated with the Association of Brazilian Soybean Producers, said that transporters were postponing the dispatch of several trucks carrying perishable goods in an attempt to prevent interruptions.
Mr. da Silva’s team proceeded on with the formation of a cabinet despite the tumult within the presidential palace and on roadways throughout the huge nation. His campaign said that it had discussed the formation of a transitional government with Mr. Nogueira, Mr. Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, and that Mr. da Silva had appointed his running mate, a former governor from the center-right, to oversee the endeavour.
Then, Mr. da Silva intended to spend some time off with his new bride.