Lula. Photo: Maí Yandara / Mídia NINJA / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0 via CounterFire

LULA has continued the Pink Tide in South America by narrowly defeating the far-right incumbent, Bolsonaro, in the Brazilian presidential election. Both Sunak and Biden have congratulated Lula and said they hope to work together with Lula to protect the Amazon Rainforest. So the CIA will not be organising a coup just yet.

Will Bolsonaro Concede?

But will Bolsonaro concede and enable an orderly transfer of power? When he spoke last night he refused to admit defeat or congratulate Lula. Throughout the election he and his supporters have claimed, without any evidence, that there has been a conspiracy between the establishment and the left to rig the election against him.

They were furious with polls that suggested Bolsonaro was trailing and even introduced a bill in parliament to make it a crime to incorrectly forecast an election. These are straightforward Trumpian tactics to create doubt about the result in advance. They have also challenged the use of electronic voting machines which have been in use since 1996 as open to hacking and abuse.

On the day, any abuse came from Bolsonaro supporters in the Federal Transport Police who ignored official instructions and set up illegal roadblocks on highways to stop and delay traffic, including 550 busloads of voters heading for the polls, mostly in Lula supporting areas. In the end all the buses arrived before the ballot closed at 5.00pm on Sunday. But Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, the head of the country’s election agency, has ordered an investigation.


For two days after the election Bolsonaro remained silent, refusing to acknowledge his defeat. This encouraged his supporters to block major highways. There have been at least 500 roadblocks across 21 states, including the highway to São Paulo Airport, causing 25 flights to be cancelled.

They admit that they aim to cause so much disruption that the army will have to intervene, calling the election result into question. And they seem to have been aided and abetted by the Federal Transport Police who were slow to clear the highways and were seen chatting with demonstrators.

As of Tuesday morning, 220 roadblocks were still active. Again, it was Judge Moraes who ordered federal and state police to clear all highways. He even threatened the head of the Federal Transport Police with arrest and a $20,000 fine if he did not comply!

With judges, the country’s election agency, and foreign leaders recognising Lula’s victory, many Bolsonaro’s supporters have accepted Lula’s win. One of the first was Arthur Lira, Brazil’s Speaker of the House. He said,

The will of the majority expressed at the polls should never be challenged.

Crucially, the army has chosen not to intervene, saying that the road blocks were a ‘police matter’.

Whether this is the end for Bolsonaro is still to be seen. He is no doubt hoping to emulate Trump by influencing Brazilian politics from the side-lines, stirring up his supporters to obstruct the new government, and maybe cause sufficient chaos and unrest to persuade the army to change its mind.

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