Jair Bolsonaro has said he will “comply” with Brazil’s constitution following his electoral defeat to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, breaking almost two days of public silence that raised concerns that the far-right leader was planning to refute the results.
In a brief statement to reporters at the presidential palace in Brasilia on Tuesday afternoon, Bolsonaro made no mention of his loss in battle. Sunday run or admit defeat to Lula, but he thanked his supporters for their support.
Taking to the podium after Bolsonaro’s speech, his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, said the president had “allowed” a transition to Lula’s government.
Bolsonaro is narrowly defeated on Sunday, winning 49.1% of the vote to Lula’s 50.9% and becoming the first incumbent president to lose his reelection bid in Brazil.
For months, he has falsely claimed that the country’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud – an allegation that has been dismissed by judicial experts, but arouse fear The former army captain may be preparing to dispute the outcome.
Many of Bolsonaro’s key political allies have publicly acknowledged Lula’s victory, pressuring him to do the same.
Some, including Nogueira, have begun to establish contact with the Lula camp to discuss the transition while others, including the speaker of the House of Representatives, have publicly said that it is the Bolsonaro government should respect the election results.
Reporting from Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Al Jazeera’s Monica Yanakiew said “it was a very, very long wait and a very brief statement” from Bolsonaro, “but he used this statement to considers himself the leader of the conservative faction in Brazil”.
Lula criticized Bolsonaro for not immediately conceding defeat or calling him in after the election results were announced on Sunday night. “Anywhere else in the world, the defeated president would call me to acknowledge his defeat,” he said during his victory speech in Sao Paulo.
While Bolsonaro has remained silent – both in public statements and on social media – many of his supporters have build roadblocks in anger over his failure.
Brazilian truckers, a key constituency of Bolsonaro, have been using burning tires and vehicles to block key roads across the country since Monday, including outside yards international flights in Sao Paulo, forcing some flights to be cancelled.
Protesters wearing the yellow and green colors of the Brazilian flag, which the outgoing president has used as his national flag, chanted slogans and hung banners featuring Bolsonaro’s image.
“We will not accept to lose what has been achieved. We want what is written on our flag, “order and progress”. We will not accept the situation as it is now,” Antoniel Almeida, 45, told AFP news agency at a rally in Barra Mansa, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
In his brief speech, Bolsonaro described the protests as the result of “indignation and a sense of injustice” over the vote. He said protesters should avoid destroying property or “obstructing the right to come and go”.
Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Federal Highway Police took “all measures” to ease the blockades, warning that the force director general would be fined if he did not act.
The highway police chief executive, Marco Antonio Territo de Barros, told reporters that there were 267 traffic jams in place and 306 had been cleared since Sunday.
“It was a complex operation, involving more than 75,000 kilometers of interstate highways,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Yanakiew said Brazilians are increasingly annoyed by the blockades.
“Everyday life is being disrupted and there is absolutely nothing to gain because you cannot overturn the election results by stopping the country by truck,” she reported earlier in the day. “People are saying it’s time to accept defeat.”
Meanwhile, Lula has already begun taking action to address a long list of priorities, including strengthening the state agencies tasked with environmental protection and indigenous territories in Brazil, as well as uniting a deeply polarized nation.
The head of Lula’s Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffmann, said on Tuesday that Brazil’s Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin would coordinate the transition to the next government, expected to take office on January 1. January. That process is expected to begin on Thursday, Hoffman said.
She also said she would talk again about the transition with Nogueira, Bolsonaro’s chief of staff.