Bolsonaro breaks silence after election loss
Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday finally broke his silence after losing Sunday's presidential runoff against leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Driving the news: During a brief press conference in Brasilia, Bolsonaro thanked Brazilians who voted for him, and while he did not explicitly concede or recognize Lula or his victory, he vowed to respect the constitution.
- Brazil's Supreme Court Justice Luiz Edson Fachin told a local news broadcast on Tuesday that during a meeting with members of the court, Bolsonaro had admitted his election fight was "over," AP reported.
Why it matters: Two days after losing the presidential election, Bolsonaro agreed to a transition of power, easing suspicions that he may challenge the results after saying for months that the only way he could lose would be if the vote was rigged.
What they're saying: "President Bolsonaro has authorized me — when requested, based on the law — to start the transition process," Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, said following the president’s speech.
- “We are glad to see that President Bolsonaro acknowledged the results of the election and has allowed the transition process to begin,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Wednesday.
Of note: Following Bolsonaro's loss, thousands of his supporters took to the streets, blocking roads, in a bid to overturn the election, per the New York Times.
- Although he said the protests "are the fruit of the indignation and feelings of injustice in the electoral process," Bolsonaro urged his supporters to stop the disruptions during his speech Tuesday.
- "Peaceful demonstrations will always be welcome," he said. "But our methods cannot be those of the left, like property invasion, destruction of goods and restrictions on the right to come and go."
Context: Bolsonaro, who received 49.1% of the vote in Sunday's election, had not publicly commented on the results until Tuesday's brief speech.
- Sunday's victory marked a stunning political comeback for Lula, who was sidelined during the last presidential election because of corruption convictions.
What's next: Lula, who won the election by less than 2 percentage points, is due to take office in January.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.