(Brasilia) Jair Bolsonaro made a discreet return Thursday morning to Brazil, where he returned after a three-month stay in the United States, for the first time since his October 2022 presidential defeat against Lula.
Determined to redo politics and hold high ultra-conservative values, the far-right ex-president did not go to greet the 200 fervent supporters who were waiting for him, singing and chanting his name at the airport, after his arrival from Florida shortly before 7 a.m. (6 a.m. Eastern time), AFP noted.
He went directly to the premises of the Liberal Party (PL) under whose banner he had run for re-election, according to images broadcast by CNN Brasil of his convoy of vehicles.
The reunion with his political allies and his relatives of an apparently relaxed Bolsonaro gave rise to warm embraces there, according to these images.
Bolsonaro just made an appearance from a window to say hello to his admirers, often dressed in the yellow and green of the national flag, before leaving the premises very quickly, under a bright sun, to wave them with the hand.
The Military Police had been mobilized in numbers for this arrival, fearing overflows while the PL had 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 leftist successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro had left Brazil on December 30, even before the end of his mandate, boycotting Lula’s inauguration ceremony on January 1.
At 68 and after a defeat of less than two million votes that had plunged him into silence, even depression, Bolsonaro declared last week his intention to “travel the country”, and “to do politics”. .
Bolsonaro’s return to Brazil comes as President Lula is going through a difficult streak, less than three months after taking office.
After contracting pneumonia, he had to postpone this week a state visit to China on which his advisers were counting to restore his image following various controversies and untimely statements.
“Lula will now have to govern with an organized opposition, it could make a big difference,” said AFP Jairo Nicolau, political analyst at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Brazilians were divided over the return of their former president.
“I like the idea of his return,” self-employed Janeiro Edanaldo Carlos told AFP-TV in Rio, “during his tenure he didn’t have enough time, just enough time to deal with the pandemic” of COVID-19.
But this return was greeted with indifference by others, such as Carla Marques da Conceiço, a housewife. “He’s not president of Brazil anymore, I don’t care,” she said.
The Liberal Party confirmed to AFP that Bolsonaro, by becoming its honorary president, would receive monthly stipends of nearly 7,000 euros.
After the premises of the PL, Bolsonaro was to go to his future residence, in a very protected residential complex in the Jardim Botanico district of Brasilia, with his wife Michelle.
The 41-year-old fervent evangelical has just taken over as head of the PL’s women’s wing and could possibly run for president in 2026.
Bolsonaro is in the middle of a controversy over luxury jewelry, worth at least three million euros, received from Saudi Arabia, which he would have brought illegally into Brazil. He was summoned by the police on April 5 for a statement.
Bolsonaro, who lost his immunity, is also under five Supreme Court investigations in cases that could earn him prison sentences.
The most recent concerns his role in the January 8 looting of places of power in Brasilia by thousands of his supporters.
The other four relate to alleged crimes during his tenure: disinformation about the electronic ballot box system or about COVID-19.
Jair Bolsonaro is also the subject of no less than 16 investigations at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).
He could be sentenced to eight years of ineligibility, which would prevent him from running for president in 2026.