BRASÍLIA (AFP) – Three months after leaving for the United States in the final hours of his term, Brazil’s ex-president Jair Bolsonaro returned home yesterday to re-enter politics, complicating life for his successor and nemesis, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The far-right ex-army captain, who skipped town two days before Lula’s inauguration on January 1, is due to arrive back in Brasilia on a commercial flight from Orlando, Florida at 7.10am.
It is a high-stakes bet for the former president, who is facing legal trouble on various fronts in Brazil, notably for his alleged role in inciting supporters who rioted through the halls of power on January 8 in a failed bid to oust Lula, the veteran leftist who beat him in a divisive election in October.
It threatens to be a tense day in Brasilia, where authorities vowed to block supporters from holding a huge welcome rally at the airport.
Bolsonaro, 68, is set to start a new job next week as honorary president of his Liberal Party (PL), earning BRL41,600 (around USD8,000) a month. The ex-president (2019-2022), who recently rented a house in a gated community in Brasilia, has said he plans to criss-cross Brazil “doing politics” and “upholding the banner of conservatism”.
But “I’m not going to lead any opposition”, Bolsonaro told CNN Brasil as he prepared to board his flight.
Authorities in Brasilia urged Bolsonaro supporters not to rally at the airport, saying police would be out in force to keep traffic flowing smoothly.