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

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro on Monday was yet to concede defeat in the presidential election, sparking fears that the right-wing nationalist could challenge the victory of his leftist rival, former president Luiz Inacio Lula. to do Silva.

Tens of thousands of jubilant supporters took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Sunday night to celebrate the dramatic return of Lula, a 77-year-old former steel worker who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. prison for corruption convictions, which were later overturned.

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

Casting the contest as a fight for democracy, Lula vowed to unite his divided country and celebrate what he said was his “renaissance” after his rival made groundless claims it was open to fraud.

“I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, not just for those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. “There are no two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

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The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that Lula won 50.9% of the vote, against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. Lula’s swearing-in ceremony will take place on January 1.

Brazilian elections Lula won the Brazilian elections

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

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez welcomed “a new era in Latin American history. A time of hope and a future that begins today.” Fernandez announced a trip to neighboring Brazil on Monday to meet with Lula.

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

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated.

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

According to the federal highway police, pro-Bolsonaro vehicles blocked highways across Brazil, with at least 70 total or partial blockades. Trucks are one of Bolsonaro’s key constituencies, and they’ve been known to cause economic chaos when they block highways in Brazil.

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

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

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

Markets are set for a volatile week.

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

Investors were anxiously waiting for news from Lula’s cabinet and the risk of questioning Bolsonaro’s results.

One of Bolsonaro’s closest allies, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, tweeted in an apparent reference to the results, “I promise you, I will be the biggest opposition that Lula ever imagined.”

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

International election observers said Sunday’s election was effective. An observer told Reuters that military auditors had found no flaws in their checks on the integrity of the voting system.

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Lula has promised to return to the economic growth and social policies that lifted millions out of poverty during his two terms as president. He is also pledging to tackle the loss of the Amazon rainforest, now at a 15-year high, making Brazil a leader in global climate talks.

Ana Valeria Doria, 60, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro who celebrated with a drink Sunday night, said: “It’s been four years of hatred and denial of science.” “It won’t be easy for Lula to manage the division in this country. But right now it’s pure happiness.” A former trade union leader born into poverty, Lula’s presidency was marked by commodity-based economic growth, and he left office with record popularity.

However, his Labor Party was then in deep decline and a record-breaking corruption scandal saw him jailed for 19 months on bribery charges, which were overturned by the High Court last year.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito in Brazil, Brian Ellsworth, Ana Mano, Gabriel Araujo and Lisandra Paraguasu in Sao Paulo; Written by Frank Jack Daniel, Edited by Brad Haynes, Angus McSwan and Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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