Bolsonaro silent after Brazil presidential vote loss
SAO PAULO/MADRID (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election to a four-year term triggered political turmoil in his country on Tuesday, with tens of thousands of angry protesters taking to the streets of central Sao Paulo and elsewhere, and his vice-president on his way to the top job. A few hours before those protests, his first public appearance of the campaign season, Bolsonaro told reporters that he would not step down.
In a country riven by decades of deep-seated political and social divides, the decision by the head of Brazil’s conservative-led government to call early elections will have far-reaching repercussions. Bolsonaro, known for his tough-talking style and a penchant for Twitter tirades, is popular in his right-wing stronghold of Rio de Janeiro, where his father ruled the central plateau city of more than 9 million people for 32 years until 2013.
But in the rest of his country Bolsonaro’s popularity is low, and his victory on Sunday night is seen as a political disaster for Brazil. He will enter office amid a severe economic crisis that has left more than half its people mired in poverty and with little hope of a bright future.
In the last days of Bolsonaro’s campaign, his hard-right supporters made their feelings clear. At least 10 people were killed on Monday in protests in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. Two police officers were shot in the head in Rio de Janeiro, and an 85-year-old man was killed by a shotgun blast in the city of Minas Gerais.
He condemned the violence, saying Brazil had come to an “awakening” and that it had to be “transformed” into a country that would be “responsible and good.” Bolsonaro also said that if Brazil was not “exceptionally good” after the October election, he would step down.
“The people will decide because it’s the people who elect and not the government,” he said.
He added that he would “totally support” the presidency of Jair