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Bolsonaro pledges to uphold Constitution after losing Brazil’s presidential election

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Jair Messias Bolsonaro during the press conference after debate with president candidates Luis Inacio Lula da Silva at Projac, headquarters of Rede Globo de Television, west side of the city Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Octuber 28, 2022. (Fabio Teixeira - Anadolu Agency)
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Nov 02, 2022 - 03:43 AM

BUENOS AIRES (AA) – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro spoke for the first time Tuesday since his defeat in runoff elections, promising to comply with the country’s Constitution without directly mentioning his loss to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“As president of the republic and a citizen, I will continue upholding all the mandates of our Constitution,” said Bolsonaro, who was flanked by several close allies at a news conference in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

“I have always been labeled undemocratic, and unlike my accusers, I have always played within the four lines of the Constitution…Our dream is more alive than ever. It is an honor to be the leader of millions of Brazilians who, like me, defend economic freedom, religious freedom, freedom of opinion, honesty, and the green and yellow colors of our flag,” he said.

The far-right politician thanked the 58 million Brazilians who voted for him in the Oct. 30 election but did not answer questions from the media.

Following roadblocks across the country by his supporters who did not want to concede defeat, Bolsonaro lashed out at the left in the country, insisting that “the current popular movements are the fruit of indignation and a feeling of injustice at how the electoral process took place.”

He said “peaceful demonstrations will always be welcome, but our methods cannot be those of the left, which have always harmed the population,” listing the invasion of property and destruction of Brazil’s heritage as some of the consequences.

Following Bolsonaro’s press conference, his chief of staff addressed the press, saying he had been “authorized” by Bolsonaro to “start the transition process.”

Bolsonaro remained silent about his loss Sunday, not making any statements about Lula’s victory despite several close allies acknowledging defeat.

For more than a year, Bolsonaro had cast doubt about whether he would respect the election results, raising concerns about Brazil’s electronic voting system without providing evidence.

On Sunday, Bolsonaro lost to Lula in a tight race, with the leftist leader garnering 50.9% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, according to Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court.​​​​​​​

Lula will become Brazil’s 39th president on Jan. 1, 2023 after serving as the nation’s 35th president from 2003 to 2010.

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