Brazil’s Bolsonaro signals cooperation with transfer of power, but does not concede election defeat or the impeachment trial he insists he has won.
After months of political paralysis, Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, looks poised on Tuesday to take major steps to overhaul his nation’s long-stagnating economy.
Facing a wave of anti-government protests that swept the country late last year, Bolsonaro is betting his economic populist instincts and the deep social divides that made him so popular at home will be enough to ensure he can remain in power in 2019.
Bolsonaro has indicated that he is ready to scrap key economic policy pillars he had championed since first taking office, including deregulation, labor reform and an increasingly unpopular overhaul of the pension system.
He also has begun to take measures that would ease the strain on his country’s state coffers by opening up previously inaccessible areas to foreign investors, and by raising the retirement age.
Bolsonaro has said he would begin a process of amending Brazil’s constitution, a move that could be crucial in preventing the country’s legislature from impeaching him.
But he has not indicated what his plans are for Brazil’s once-thriving pension system, where over 10% of Brazilian pensioners are said to be unable to afford their monthly payments.
“We’re on the cusp of a long, difficult process. There will be much that we have to discuss, but there will also be clarity. There will be a lot of decisions, no doubt,” Bolsonaro told a conservative radio show on Friday.
“He [Emilio] Cunha was an idiot, but he was right: we need to fix Brazil,” said Bolsonaro. “The president of Brazil will never concede defeat.”
Bolsonaro has also signaled that he would scrap his campaign pledge to repeal the 2014 reform of Brazil’s constitution that granted him sweeping powers in an election he won in October.