Explaining Brazil #41: What was Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration like?

We’d like to wish our listeners a Happy New Year, and we begin 2019 by talking about the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro, which took place on New Year’s Day.  Elected in October 2018 by 55 percent of voters, Bolsonaro will now lead Brazil for the next four years.

This podcast was not recorded from our studios in São Paulo, but rather from Brasília, the Brazilian capital.

For foreigners, it seems odd to schedule a presidential inauguration on the very first day of the year. But it wasn’t always like that. As a matter of fact, it was the 1988 Constitution that placed the beginning of the presidential term on January 1st. Prior to the change, presidents took office mid-March. There were two reasons for doing that: one, to bring the inauguration closer to the election and two, to limit the outgoing president’s power over his successor’s budget.

Some congressmen have (unsuccessfully) tried to change the date over the years, as recently as 2015. One even said that “the holiday season is a time to spend with one’s family.”

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On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Raphael Ferreira currently works as a news producer at the Brazilian Superior Labor Court TV network. He covered Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration ceremony from the Three Powers Square, in Brasília, for The Brazilian Report.

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