Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Uncertain future for Bolsonaro after the presidency

BRASILIA ( Associated Press) – Jair Bolsonaro told supporters there could be only three possibilities in the future: arrest, death or a second term as Brazil’s president.

None of those scenarios came to fruition. And his defeat to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on October 30 marked the beginning of two months of relative silence for the self-proclaimed standard-bearer of Brazil’s conservative movement.

Bolsonaro’s motto is “Dias, Familia, Patria”, and as president he gave more powers to the armed forces and lifted restrictions on gun ownership. Many of his far-right supporters still passionately follow him and camp out in front of military barracks, begging to no avail that the military intervene to keep him in office.

But Bolsonaro has authorized his chief of staff to lead the transition process, and moving trucks have already arrived at the palace and presidential residence. Some personal items have been removed, notably art objects donated by supporters, including life-size wooden sculptures of Bolsonaro and a motorcycle.

Bolsonaro, who was a legislator for seven terms before winning his 2018 presidential campaign, has discussed the possibility of holding a salaried position in his Liberal Party, a PL executive with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press, who spoke anonymously. asked to stay. The plans have not been publicly announced.

Addressing supporters in the capital Brasilia after losing the election, Bolsonaro briefly told them that the armed forces were under his control. The second time he remained silent when a group of supporters prayed for him.

Some of his supporters say Bolsonaro will not let them down by stopping the fighting, but others have started leaving the camps. According to the official presidential agenda, the outgoing president has worked just a little over an hour each day since his election until December 23.

The Liberal Party would be the one that would have the largest presence in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The PL executive said they have declared their opposition to the incoming Lula government and Bolsonaro is expected to lead the effort within the party.

But many members of the Liberal Party are not entirely loyal to Bolsonaro or ideologically aligned with him, and would have incentives to work with the new government, said a political analyst and professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo. Guilherme Caseros said. The PL is considered a centrist and is known for making deals with the government in power.

“This makes it difficult to maintain the ideological allegiance that Bolsonaro likes to maintain,” Caseros said. “If he doesn’t get full control of the Liberal Party, we’re going to see a new split.”

Eduardo Grin, a political analyst and professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, said Bolsonaro received 49% of the vote in the presidential election, fueling the possibility that he would run for president in 2026 and advise candidates in the 2024 municipal elections.

However, Grin noted that there is a history of strong Brazilian candidates failing to maintain substantial support in subsequent years. And the governors of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, Brazil’s two most populous states, may be a more attractive option to conservative voters.

The customary last act for outgoing presidents is to hand over the presidency to their successor. Bolsonaro’s office did not respond to requests for comment about whether he would attend Lula’s inauguration.

The last time a president refused to hand over the band was in 1985, the year the country ended two decades of military dictatorship and returned to democracy.

Either way, the inauguration would be a blow to Bolsonaro supporters, said Mario Sergio Lima, analyst at the economic advisory firm Medley Advisors.

“Because his supporters are accustomed to radicalism, they expect a catharsis. When they see Lula being sworn in, they will feel cheated; (a feeling) that (Bolsonaro) had the power in his hands and did nothing.” did,” Lima said. “To them it is a sign of weakness.”

Bolsonaro is also facing legal threats. He is being investigated by the Federal Supreme Court on suspicion of illegally spreading falsehoods about subjects including the COVID-19 vaccine and High Court judges, disclosing confidential information from an ongoing investigation, and improperly interfering with the federal police. Has been The STF is the only government body that can investigate a sitting Speaker or a federal legislator.

From January 1, Bolsonaro will no longer enjoy the immunity current rulers enjoy, and could face new charges in lower courts. After Lula was found guilty of corruption and money laundering by lower courts in 2018, he was disqualified from running in that year’s presidential election and spent more than a year in prison. His conviction was later quashed on the grounds that he was tried in a court that lacked proper jurisdiction.

“But Lula had an entire party behind him to push him (for the presidency), and that’s not the case with Bolsonaro,” Lima declared, noting that Bolsonaro has allies for his cause. It will be difficult to keep fighting. ,

And any possible guilty plea could jeopardize Bolsonaro’s potential presidential run in 2026, on top of all the other challenges he faces.

“The political destiny of Bolsonaro and the extreme right in Brazil face more obstacles than they seem,” Grin declared. “There will be more difficulties than ease.”


Associated Press reporter Diane Jeanette contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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