In Speech, Bolsonaro Avoids Conceding Defeat

But Brazilian leader says he will follow the constitution
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2022 4:37 PM CDT
In Speech, Bolsonaro Avoids Conceding Defeat
A protester wears a Brazilian national flag as a cape as truckers block a highway in Embu das Artes, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

In his first public remarks since his narrow election loss Sunday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro did not concede defeat, but he said he would follow the rules of the country's constitution. "I have always been labeled as anti-democratic and, unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the constitution," Bolsonaro said in a brief address Tuesday, per the AP. After he spoke, chief of staff Ciro Nogueira said he had been authorized to begin the transition process with representatives of leftist President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, reports Reuters. Before the election, Bolsonaro cast doubt on the integrity of the nation's voting system, raising fears that he would refuse to hand over power. He remained silent on social media, where he is normally very active, in the days after the election.

Lula, who took 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro's 49.1%, according to official results, is due to be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2023. Bolsonaro didn't mention Lula in his address, but he thanked people who voted for him and said "peaceful demonstrations" would always be welcome, the BBC reports. He was referring to what he called a "popular movement"—hundreds of roadblocks set up across the country by truckers and other Bolsonaro supporters, some of them calling for a military coup. Before Bolsonaro spoke on Tuesday, Brazil's Supreme Court ordered federal highway police to clear the roads. By noon, around 300 roadblocks had been cleared but more than 200 remained, per the AP. Bolsonaro said protesters should avoid destroying property or "impeding the right to come and go." (More Brazil stories.)

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