SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Outgoing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro did not concede defeat in the presidential election on Monday, raising fears that the far-right nationalist could vie for the victory of his leftist rival, former President Luis Inacio Lula da. Silva.
Tens of thousands of jubilant supporters took to the streets of Sao Paulo Sunday night to celebrate the amazing return of Lula, the 77-year-old former metalworker who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. His electoral victory came after a time in prison on corruption charges that was later rescinded. .
Bolsonaro left his residence on Monday morning and headed to the presidential palace, but he has not made any public statements yet. He is the first Brazilian to lose the presidential election. Lula vowed to undo his legacy, including pro-gun policies and poor protections for the Amazon rainforest.
Casting the competition as a battle for democracy after his rival made baseless claims that the electoral system was open to fraud, Lula promised to unite his deeply divided country and celebrated what he called his “mission.”
“I will govern 215 million Brazilians, not just those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. There are no Brazilians. We are one country, one people and one great nation.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) declared Lula the winner with 50.9% of the vote, against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for January 1.
Lula’s victory cements a new “pink tide” in Latin America, and means the left will rule all major economies in the region after a string of electoral successes from Mexico to Argentina in recent years.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez hailed “a new era in Latin American history. The time for hope and the future begins today.” Fernandez announced a trip to neighboring Brazil on Monday to meet Lula.
Congratulations poured in 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 Schulz and French President Emmanuel Macron offered congratulations.
However, Bolsonaro’s continued silence has raised concerns that the handover may not be entirely clean.
Pro-Bolsonaro truck drivers have closed highways across Brazil, with at least 70 total or partial closures according to the Federal Highway Police. Truck drivers are a major component of Bolsonaro, and they have been known to cause economic chaos in Brazil when they closed highways.
Sources told Reuters there were no confirmed reports of disruption to grain shipments in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest agricultural state, although some roads were closed there.
A source in Bolsonaro’s campaign told Reuters the president would not make public statements until Monday. Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
“I don’t know if he will call or admit my victory,” Lula said in a speech to his supporters on Paulista Avenue in São Paulo.
Markets are preparing for a volatile week ahead.
The Brazilian real rose as much as 0.5% against the dollar after falling 2% earlier in the session, while the Bovespa index (.BVSP) It rose 0.3% after falling 2% in early trade.
Investors eagerly awaited the news of the Lula government and the risk of Bolsonaro’s questioning of the results.
“I promise, I will be the biggest dissident Lula ever imagined,” Representative Carla Zampelli, a close ally of Bolsonaro, wrote on Twitter, in apparent reference to the results.
The vote was a rebuke to the far-right populist Bolsonaro, who emerged from the backbenches of Congress to form a conservative coalition but lost support as Brazil hit one of the worst death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic.
International election observers said Sunday’s election was conducted efficiently. One observer told Reuters that the military auditors did not find any flaws in the integrity tests they conducted in the voting system.
Lula has vowed to return to the state-led economic growth and social policies that helped lift millions out of poverty during two terms as president. He also promised to combat the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which is now at its highest level in 15 years, and make Brazil a leader in global climate talks.
“This has been four years of hate and denial of science,” said Ana Valeria Doria, 60, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro who celebrated Sunday night. “It wouldn’t be easy for Lola to run the band in this country. But for now, it’s pure happiness.” A former union leader was born into poverty, Lula’s presidency was marked by a commodity-driven economic boom and he left office with record popularity.
But his Labor Party later suffered a deep recession and a record-breaking corruption scandal that saw him imprisoned for 19 months on bribery charges, which the Supreme Court overturned last year.
Additional reporting by Anthony Boudl and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth, Ana Mano, Gabriel Araujo and Lisandra Paraguaso in Sao Paulo; Written by Frank Jack Daniel and Editing by Brad Hines, Angus McSwan and Frank Jack Daniel
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.