Bolsonaro breaks silence after poll defeat, yet to concede

BRASILIA, Jan. 26, 2019 (Xinhua) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends a press conference on the collapse of a dam, at Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, capital of Brazil, on Jan. 25, 2019. At least seven people were killed, nine injured and at least 150 others are missing after a tailings dam collapsed Friday afternoon in southeastern state of Minas Gerais, the state government said Friday evening. (Xinhua/Ernesto Rodrigues/AGENCIA ESTADO/IANS)

Brasilia, Nov 2 (IANS) Following his defeat in this week’s presidential runoff election, outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro finally broke his silence and thanked voters who voted for him, but did not acknowledge his loss.

In Sunday’s election, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was banned from standing for office after being convicted in a fraud case, received more than 60 million votes, or 50.89 per cent of the ballots, surpassing Bolsonaro’s 58 million votes, or 49.11 per cent.

This was the smallest margin in a runoff election in Brazil’s history.

In the first round held on October 2, Lula garnered 48.3 per cent of the vote, compared to 43.2 per cent for Bolsonaro.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, the outgoing leader said that “our dreams continue as alive as ever”, reports the BBC.

Bolsanaro insisted that he would continue to strive for “order and progress”, the words emblazoned on Brazil’s flag.

Directly addressing his supporters who have erected hundreds of roadblocks in all but two states of Brazil, Bolsonaro referred to them as “current popular movements” and said they were “the fruit of indignation and a sense of injustice of how the electoral process unfolded”.

He added that “peaceful demonstrations” would always be welcome, but that “our methods can’t be the same as those used by the left, which always harmed the population, such as invasion of lands, disrespecting property and impeding the right to come and go”.

In his short address that lasted only two minutes, he did not mention Lula at all, the BBC reported.

Despite Bolsonaro is yet to concede hs defeat, Brazil’s Supreme Court released a statement shortly after his speech saying that by authorising the transition of power, he had recognised the result of the election.

Lula’s victory has paving the way for the 77-year-old’s third four-year term beginning from January 1, 2023.

This is a comeback for the former President who could not run in the 2018 election because he was in jail and banned from standing for office.

Lula, who had served as the President for two terms between 2003 and 2010, had been found guilty of receiving a bribe from a Brazilian construction firm in return for contracts with Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras.

He spent 580 days in jail before his conviction was annulled, marking his return to the political fray.

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