Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president on Sunday with his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro notably absent.
Bolsonaro, now lacking presidential immunity, reportedly fled Brazil, departing for the United States on Friday, still without conceding defeat since October’s election. Bolsonaro reportedly plans to stay in Florida for at least a month, according to The New York Times, renting the Orlando home of a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter a few miles from Disney World.
In a speech to Brazil’s Congress Sunday, Lula accused Bolsonaro of making anti-democratic threats following the most troubled election in a generation and promising to hold members of his administration to account.
“We do not carry any spirit of revenge against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological designs, but we will guarantee the rule of law,” Lula said, according to Reuters, without mentioning Bolsonaro by name. “Those who erred will answer for their errors.”
A few hours before his departure, Bolsonaro, clearly signaling that he has not accepted his loss and that he is not giving up the attempt to return to power, addressed the country as president for the last time on his social media. At times on the verge of tears, Bolsonaro said he wasn’t able to find a legal alternative or enough support to change the course of history and prevent his departure from office.
“How difficult it has been to stay quiet for two months, working to find alternatives,” he said. “If you’re upset, put yourself in my place. I gave my life to this country.”
Bolsonaro also condemned a recent bomb threat in Brasilia, saying it was not the time to attack people but rather to try to build opposition against the future government. “We lost a battle, but we will not lose the war,” he said. “The world does not end on Jan. 1.”
A crowd of supporters stood outside the presidential residence in the pouring rain listening for a sign from their leader, and many were left disappointed. Some shouted the words “traitor” and “coward.” One woman cried, according to The Associated Press.
Since his electoral loss, some of Bolsonaro’s most die-hard supporters have been camping outside military buildings in Brasilia and elsewhere in the country, demanding the armed forces to intervene. Many believed election results were fraudulent or unreliable and hoped Bolsonaro would somehow remain in power.
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