Brazil’s transition is taking shape, Bolsonaro is holding back

Brazil’s transition is taking shape, Bolsonaro is holding back


Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s head of transition on Tuesday assembled a team to facilitate the left’s rise to the Brazilian presidency, while outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro remained unusually silent after his election defeat.

Lula’s vice-president-elect Geraldo Alckmin appointed, among other things, a political council and a team of economists who will set the course for the January 1 change of government.

“We are working, the future has already begun,” Lula wrote on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Lula will meet with leaders from both houses of Congress in Brasilia to discuss budget issues as he seeks to fulfill his campaign pledges of increased social spending while grappling with a struggling economy.

Lula, who will serve a third term as president, faces a far grimmer prospect than the commodity-driven boom he presided over in the 2000s.

The economic team appointed by Alckmin includes economists Andre Lara Resende and Persio Arisa, who helped devise a plan to curb hyperinflation in Brazil in the 1990s.

– “A great sadness” –

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has all but disappeared from public view and even from his beloved social media accounts.

The far-right president responded to his defeat in the Oct. 30 runoff election with almost two days of silence as his supporters blocked highways in protest and called for the military to intervene to keep him in power.

Bolsonaro finally issued a brief statement on November 1, saying he would respect the constitution. However, he neither conceded defeat nor congratulated Lula.

The following night he released a video urging supporters to stop blocking freeways – although he encouraged “legitimate demonstrations”.

Protesters largely gave way, although a handful of breakaway roadblocks remain in place, as well as demonstrations outside military bases.

Bolsonaro, 67, has remained silent ever since.

According to his public agenda, he has been hiding at his official residence since November 1 when he met with cabinet ministers.

The newspaper O Globo, citing sources close to the president, reported that Bolsonaro was at home with “health problems”, had a fever and appeared exhausted.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to questions about his health from AFP.

President’s Liberal Party (PL) leader Valdemar Costa Neto said Bolsonaro’s silence was “natural” given his narrow loss – 50.9 percent of the vote to 49.1 percent, the closest presidential race in Brazil’s modern history.

“When you lose an election like that, you feel it in your heart,” Neto said at a press conference.

– Puzzling Tweet –

Bolsonaro hasn’t posted anything on his normally busy Twitter account since the runoff, save for last Wednesday’s video and an enigmatic image posted Tuesday of the president standing in front of a crowd of supporters, with a Brazilian flag in the background.

Bolsonaro has even stopped posting his live weekly address on Facebook, one of the main communication channels he’s relied on throughout his presidency to speak to his base.

The rest of the Bolsonaro clan has also been unusually quiet online since the election.

The day after, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, posted a message that read, “Dad, I’m with you no matter what.”

On Sunday, he published two more messages condemning the alleged “censorship” of his father’s supporters on social media – a common complaint from the pro-Bolsonaro camp as Brazilian authorities have tried to block disinformation online.

Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, Flavio’s younger brother, meanwhile, shared a post from new Twitter owner Elon Musk promising to “investigate” claims that pro-Bolsonaro user accounts were wrongfully suspended.

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