Discreet return for Bolsonaro in Brazil
Ex-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made a quiet return to Brazil on Thursday but was determined to oppose Lula, who defeated him in the October election, after a stint of three months in the United States.
Decided to go back to politics and to uphold ultra-conservative values, he did not go to greet the 200 fervent supporters who were waiting for him, singing and chanting his name at the airport, due to the strict security protocol put in place by the authorities, after his arrival from Florida shortly before 7 a.m. (local time), AFP noted.
The former far-right president went directly to the premises of the Liberal Party (PL) under whose banner he had stood for re-election.
“Those who are in power in this moment, and for not long, will not be able to do what they want with the future of our country”, he declared in a speech in front of PL leaders broadcast on social networks.
“We have almost 20% of the seats (in Congress) and we have allies from other parties. We are the majority and we want the best for our country,” he added.
Jair Bolsonaro just appeared from a window to greet his admirers, often dressed in the yellow and green colors of the national flag, before leaving the premises very quickly to wave at them, under a radiant sun.
The Military Police had been mobilized in number for this arrival, for fear of excesses, the PL having made a lot of publicity on social networks for the return of Bolsonaro.
Back in Brazil, the ex-president, the subject of a long series of investigations, exposes himself to legal proceedings with possible ineligibility and possible imprisonment, while complicating the political deal for his left-wing successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Mr. Bolsonaro had left Brazil on December 30, even before the end of his term, boycotting Lula's inauguration ceremony on January 1.
At 68 and after an “unfair” defeat that had plunged him into depression, he announced last week his intention to “travel the country”, and “do politics”.
Difficult sequence for Lula
Jair Bolsonaro's return to Brazil comes at a time when President Lula is going through a difficult sequence, less than three months after taking office.
After contracting pneumonia, he had to postpone a state visit to China this week that his advisers were counting on to restore his image following various controversies and untimely statements.
“Lula will now have to governing with an organized opposition could make a big difference,” said Jairo Nicolau, a political analyst at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Brazilians were divided on the return of their former President (2019-2022).
“I like the idea of his return,” Edanaldo Carlos, a self-employed entrepreneur, told AFP-TV in Rio de Janeiro, “during his tenure he didn't have enough time, just enough time to dealing with the pandemic” of COVID.
But this return was greeted with indifference by others, like Carla Marques da Conceiço, a housewife. “He is no longer president of Brazil, I don't care,” she said.
The Liberal Party confirmed to AFP that Mr. Bolsonaro, by becoming its honorary president, would receive monthly stipends of nearly 7,000 euros.
After lunch at the premises of the PL, the former head of state was to go to his future residence, in a highly protected residential complex in the Jardim Botanico district of Brasilia, with his wife Michelle.
This fervent evangelical, only 41 years old, has just taken the helm of the women's section of the PL and could possibly run for the presidency in 2026.
Jair Bolsonaro returns to the midst of a controversy over luxury jewelry, worth at least three million euros, received from Saudi Arabia, which he allegedly smuggled into Brazil.
He was summoned by the police on April 5 for a testimony.
Mr. Bolsonaro, who lost his immunity, is also under five Supreme Court investigations in cases that could earn him prison sentences.
Jair Bolsonaro is also under investigation by no less than 16 investigations at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE).
He could be sentenced to eight years of ineligibility, which would prevent him from running for president in 2026.