March 29, 2023

Bolsonaro says he will return to Brazil in March to lead opposition to Lula da Silva

In first interview since leaving Brazil for Florida, former Brazilian president again says election process was ‘biased’ but says he’s willing to face legal action to be ‘national leader of the right’ .

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he plans to return to Brazil in March to lead the political opposition to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and defend himself against accusations that he instigated attacks by protesters on government buildings last month.

“The right-wing movement is not dead and will continue to live,” Bolsonaro told the Wall Street Journal in his first interview since leaving Brazil for Florida, US, late last year after the election. . defeat by Lula Silva. Bolsonaro says he wants to work with his supporters in Congress and state governments to promote what he has called “pro-business policies” and fight abortion, gun control and other policies he says are antithetical to family values.

Lula da Silva has pledged to greatly expand social security for the poor and increase the state’s role in the economy, moves Bolsonaro says would burden Latin America’s largest country with debt and scare away foreign investment.

In the Wall Street Journal, Bolsonaro, who did not concede defeat, appeared to tone down criticism of the election result. “Losing is part of the election process,” he said. “I’m not saying there was fraud, but the process was biased.”

“The people were with me, the farmers were with me, most evangelicals were with me, industry was with me, the shipowners were with me,” he said. Now, he sees himself as “the national leader of the right – there is no one else at the moment”.

The 67-year-old former president arrived in the United States on a diplomatic visa and has been in Florida for more than a month at the home of friends, one of whom is Brazilian and a martial arts expert. Brazilian prosecutors accuse him of inciting the January riots with social media posts warning of election fraud. On January 8, crowds – many of whom expressed their support for Bolsonaro – stormed government buildings in the Brazilian capital, including the Federal Supreme Court and Congress. Bolsonaro, who was in Florida when the riots took place, claims he is innocent: “I wasn’t even there and they want to indict me!”

But, in his opinion, there was no attempt to overthrow Lula’s government. “Coup? What coup? Where was the commander? Where were the troops, where were the bombs?”, he asks.

Bolsonaro says he can’t wait to go home, despite all the legal risks: “An arrest warrant can come out of nowhere,” he admitted.

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