After Lula victory, Brazil asks: Where’s Bolsonaro? | Elections News

Far-right leader has not commented on defeat to his rival, Brazilian president-elect Lula da Silva, fuelling concerns.

Hours after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was declared Brazil’s next president, incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has yet to address his electoral defeat, raising concerns the far-right leader could be planning to contest the results.

Da Silva, better known as Lula, narrowly bested Bolsonaro in Sunday’s second round run-off, garnering 50.9 percent support compared to 49.1 percent for the former army captain.

While Lula struck a conciliatory tone – pledging to “govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me” – and world leaders congratulated him on his victory, Bolsonaro has yet to comment publicly or on social media.

Bolsonaro has spent months falsely claiming that Brazil’s electoral system was vulnerable to fraud, spurring fears that he planned to contest the results should he lose to Lula, as most Brazilian polls had predicted.

Reporting from the capital Brasilia, Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo said on Monday that there was “absolutely silence” at the presidential palace, where she said Bolsonaro had arrived very early in the morning.

“Nobody knows whether he is going to speak,” Bo reported. “He has not conceded defeat. He has not called elected President Lula da Silva.”

In the past, Bolsonaro also has expressed admiration for Brazil’s former military regime, which ruled from 1964 to 1985, adding to fears around the election campaign.

Nevertheless, Bo said the heads of both chambers of Brazil’s Congress have accepted Lula’s victory, tempering concerns over Bolsonaro’s response.

“The director of the electoral tribunal said that he spoke to the president and [said] that he is expected to accept the results,” she said. “But nobody knows when that is going to happen. We do hear, however, that some of his ministers are advising him to acknowledge this result.”

Meanwhile, truckers and other protesters blocked highways in several Brazilian states on Monday in an apparent protest against the defeat of Bolsonaro, who was backed by major business interests.

​Burning tyres, trucks and cars blocked several points in the west-central farm state of Mato Grosso, which largely supports Bolsonaro, a company that manages a highway in the state said.

Road blockages were also seen in at least five other states, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, according to local media.​

presidential convoy
The presidential convoy with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is seen at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, October 31, 2022 [Adriano Machado/Reuters]

Lula criticised Bolsonaro on Sunday night for not acknowledging the result.

“Any place else in the world, the defeated president would have called me to recognise his defeat,” the president-elect said in his victory speech to a euphoric sea of red-clad supporters in Sao Paulo.

Lula also vowed to work for “peace and unity” in the divided nation. “I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me,” he said. “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

A senior staffer at Bolsonaro’s campaign headquarters said the president went unaccompanied from his official residence to the presidential palace on Monday morning, but he was declining meetings and calls even from his closest aides and political associates.

His three sons, who are very active on social media, also have maintained total radio silence and posted nothing since Sunday’s defeat was declared by Brazil’s electoral authority.

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