SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to concede defeat in the presidential election on Monday, sparking speculation that the far-right nationalist could collide with his left-wing rival, the ex-President. Fears of President Luiz Inacio Lula da’s race to win. Silva.
Tens of thousands of elated supporters took to the streets of São Paulo on Sunday night to celebrate the stunning comeback of Lula, a 77-year-old former metal worker who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. Jail for corruption conviction, later dropped.
Bolsonaro left his residence for the presidential palace on Monday morning but has yet to make any public comments. He is the first sitting Brazilian president to lose a presidential election. Lula has vowed to overturn his legacy, including pro-gun policies and weak protections for the Amazon rainforest.
After his rivals made baseless claims of fraud in the electoral system, Lula saw the race as a fight for democracy, promising to unite his deeply divided country and celebrate what he called a “resurrection.”
“I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, not just for those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. “There are no two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”
The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) declared Lula to have won 50.9 percent of the vote, while Bolsonaro won 49.1 percent of the vote. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for January 1.
Lula’s victory cemented a new “pink wave” in Latin America, meaning the left will rule all of the region’s major economies following a string of electoral successes in recent years from Mexico to Argentina.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez hailed “a new era in Latin American history. An era of hope and future that begins today”. Fernandez announced on Monday that he would travel to neighboring Brazil to meet Lula.
Foreign leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, offered their congratulations, calling the election “free, fair and credible.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Schultz and French President Emmanuel Macron all expressed their congratulations.
Still, Bolsonaro’s continued silence has raised concerns that the transition of power may not be entirely clean.
Truckers supporting Bolsonaro blocked Brazil’s highways, with at least 70 full or partial blockades, according to the Federal Highway Police. Truckers, one of Bolsonaro’s main backers, have been known to cause economic chaos in Brazil when highways are closed.
Sources told Reuters there were no confirmed reports of disruptions to grain shipments in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s largest agricultural state, although some roads there have been blocked.
A source with Bolsonaro’s campaign told Reuters the president would not make a public speech until Monday. Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
“I don’t know if he will call, or if he will concede my victory,” Lula said while addressing supporters on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo.
Markets braced for a turbulent week ahead.
The Brazilian real rose 0.5% against the dollar after falling as much as 2% earlier in the session, while Bovespa (.BVSP) gained 0.3% after falling 2% in early trade.
Investors eagerly await news from Lula’s cabinet and the risk that Bolsonaro will question the outcome.
A close Bolsonaro ally, lawmaker Carla Zampelli, apparently agreed with the result, tweeting: “I assure you I will be the greatest opposition Lula can imagine. “
The vote was a denunciation of the fiery far-right populism of Bolsonaro, who emerged from the back seat of Congress to form a conservative coalition, but as Brazil became the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic One of the most countries and therefore lost support.
International election observers said Sunday’s election was conducted efficiently. An observer told Reuters that military auditors found no flaws in their integrity tests of the voting system.
Lula has vowed to return to state-driven economic growth and social policies that have lifted millions out of poverty during his two terms as president. He also pledged to fight the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, now at its highest level in 15 years, and to make Brazil a leader in global climate negotiations.
“It’s four years of hatred, the denial of science,” said Ana Valeria Doria, a 60-year-old doctor in Rio de Janeiro, who celebrated with drinks on Sunday night. “It wasn’t easy for Lula to run the sector in this country. But now it’s pure happiness.” A former union leader born into poverty, Lula’s presidency was marked by a commodity-driven economic boom, which he marked with a record of prestige to leave office.
However, his Workers’ party has since been mired in a deep recession and a record-breaking corruption scandal that saw him jailed for 19 months on bribery charges that were overturned by the Supreme Court last year.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth, Ana Mano, Gabriel Araujo and Lisandra Paraguassu in São Paulo; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel, Editing by Brad Haynes, Angus MacSwan and Frank Jack Daniel
Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.