The former Brazilian president is fleshing out his plans. Jair Bolsonaro intends to return home in March to lead the opposition, he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in Orlando, the first since he left power and traveled to Florida two days before his mandate ended. His words are the most accurate indication the far-right ex-president, who lost his immunity on Jan. 1, has yet given about his future. Bolsonaro is under investigation in many cases, including for promoting the January 8 coup in Brasilia.
“The right-wing movement is alive and we will continue,” he told reporters. He explains that he intends to lead the opposition to current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who narrowly won October’s elections. The former president says he intends to join forces with his congressional allies to promote a liberal agenda in business, fight abortion rights and defend gun liberalization. Lula has managed to keep an ally at the head of the Senate, but the President of the Chamber of Deputies is close to the former President and his allies dominate the House of Commons.
Brazil’s Supreme Court is investigating Bolsonaro for instigating the violent attack on Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court, carried out by thousands of his supporters with the apparent connivance of the military and police. About a thousand of them remain in prison while police continue their raids to identify those who facilitated, funded and carried out the attacks.
Bolsonaro, who has led a campaign for months to question the legitimacy of electronic ballot boxes, is more nuanced about the elections in an interview with the American newspaper. He admits that “losing is part of the process,” adding, “I’m not saying there was cheating, but the process was flawed.”
The right-wing extremist hesitantly condemned the attack on the powers that be in Brasilia and is now making it clear to the WSJ that he does not believe in a coup attempt: “Couph, what kind of coup? Where were the commander, the troops, the bombs?” he wonders, protesting his innocence that he is thousands of kilometers from the Brazilian capital.
From the moment he realized he could lose the election, Bolsonaro appeared to be following Donald Trump’s instruction manual. His campaign against polling station security, his insistence on sowing doubts about the recount, and the appeal he made to electoral officials after the loss — rejected within 24 hours — all followed the American’s line. But unlike Trump, Bolsonaro was in Florida on the day of the Brasilia attack.
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Moreover, the Brazilian has weighed his words very carefully since losing the election. He plunged into near-absolute silence, and his statements were few and measured. He knows he’s in the sights of many.
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