In Brazil, faced with the risk of chaos, Bolsonaro comes out of silence and plays appeasement

He descended at high speed the red ramp which leads to the golden salon of the Alvorada Palace, followed by about twenty ministers and relatives. Nearly forty-eight hours of silence after his defeat in the presidential election on October 30, Jair Bolsonaro finally deigned, on Tuesday 1er November, to address the nation from his official residence in Brasilia. As a thunderstorm abruptly darkened the sky, his face closed and his jaws clenched, the President of Brazil put on his glasses and read his speech word for word, hardly looking up at the hundred journalists who had been waiting for him for over of one hour. The speech lasted less than two minutes. Never he neither mentioned the name of his opponent on the left, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, nor explicitly acknowledged his defeat.

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Jair Bolsonaro began by thanking them “58 million Brazilians” who voted in favor, before discussing the mobilization of his supporters who, since Sunday evening, have blocked hundreds of highways across the country to contest the election results. The outgoing president did not wish to overwhelm them. All this is just “the fruit of the indignation and the feeling of injustice linked to the way in which the electoral process took place”he declared, while condemning the violence and affirming that [ses] methods cannot be those of the left”. Forced and forced, Jair Bolsonaro finally promised “to keep all the commandments of [la] Constitution ». Then he went away, with an even faster step, applauded by his ministers and ignoring the journalists who challenged him with: “President, are you finally going to concede defeat?” »

Ciro Nogueira, Minister of Casa Civil (equivalent to “super” chief of staff), then succeeded him at the desk. “We will begin the transition process by strictly following the law”, he assured. This was to satisfy the judges of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the highest judicial body in the country, who, all day long, did everything to compel the president to publicly recognize the results of the election and avoid, in the long term, any legal proceedings for non-compliance with the Constitution.

“It’s a big step”

Beyond the manoeuvre, and despite its ambiguities and brevity, the speech sent generally positive signals. “Bolsonaro said he would respect the Constitution and spoke out against violent protests. It’s a big step. He couldn’t go so far as to acknowledge Lula’s victory and congratulate him. It would have been too big a leap from his activist base.”, believes Mayra Goulart, political scientist and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

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In Brazil, faced with the risk of chaos, Bolsonaro comes out of silence and plays appeasement