Bolsonaro silent after Brazil presidential vote loss
BRASILIA (AP) — A day after his surprise triumph, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to appear in public since the election.
The normally outspoken president has refrained from tweeting or calling for a fresh round of television debates, saying he wanted to stay away from the “political circus” of his opponents.
Brazilians will gather in cities nationwide on Sunday to elect their next president. All 10 candidates are competing to be on the ballot.
A victory by Bolsonaro could set Brazil up for months of political turbulence in a country with nearly 200 million voters. He will face a difficult task in pushing through a leftist agenda that includes cutting social spending.
“I don’t want to take positions,” Bolsonaro told reporters. “When I am on the stage with my opponent, I will talk about my vision for the country, and not to confuse a political debate with a personal one.”
The president’s silence on the campaign trail comes in the aftermath of massive protests in Sao Paulo and other large cities that rattled Brazil’s political system.
The protests were sparked by a Supreme Court ruling that stripped lower house representative Eduardo Cunha of his immunity to answer questions by the public and barred him from running for re-election.
Cunha was wanted for questioning about a scheme to funnel funds to an offshore company. Brazil’s Electoral Court suspended his eligibility.
Days later, as protests hit the largest Brazilian cities, Bolsonaro made his sudden move to the center after campaigning for months on a nationalist-populist platform.
His decision to speak at length about his domestic and foreign policies drew criticism from opposition parties and commentators on social media and national news networks, who dismissed the comments as meaningless.
Bolsonaro is now facing a difficult balancing act between pushing through a radical agenda, which would be likely to alienate key allies, and appearing to distance himself from anti-government protests, which in turn could further enrage the military, with whom he is allied.
An opinion poll published Wednesday by Datafolha showed Bol