Jair Bolsonaro's certification ceremony

In a ceremony at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) in Brasilia, president-elect Jair Bolsonaro and his vice-president General Hamilton Mourão were certified on Monday afternoon, ratifying the former Army captain’s election win.

In an uncommonly conciliatory mood, Mr. Bolsonaro addressed the hundreds in attendance by promising he would govern for all of Brazil, regardless of “social origin, race, sex, skin color, age, or religion.” He also used the opportunity to praise the TSE’s work during the election, which he had spent months during the campaign criticizing.

Certification is the final administrative step in the election process and represents an attestation that Mr. Bolsonaro and Gen. Mourão are both fit to take office come January 1. The victorious candidates each received a diploma confirming that they have met all of the legal requirements to serve as president and vice-president.

Over 700 people were in attendance, among them some prominent members of Mr. Bolsonaro’s future cabinet, such as Paulo Guedes (Economy), Tereza Cristina (Agriculture), and Luiz Henrique Mandetta (Health). Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons Eduardo, Flávio and Carlos were also present.

Upon arriving, the president-elect was given a standing ovation by the audience. Mr. Bolsonaro then saluted the crowd, to more cheers and applause.

“I will govern for 210 million Brazilians”

After accepting his certification, Jair Bolsonaro gave an uncharacteristically conciliatory speech, gesturing towards his opponents and asking for support to build a successful government.

“I will be the president of all 210 million Brazilians. I will govern for the benefit of all, with no distinction of social origin, race, sex, skin color, age, or religion. To those who did not support me, I hope to have your trust so that together we may build a better future for the country,” said the president-elect.

Mr. Bolsonaro also used the opportunity to praise the work of the TSE, which he repeatedly criticized throughout the election campaign. While in September the president-elect said that he wouldn’t accept any election result that didn’t end in his victory and cast aspersions over “certain professionals within the Superior Electoral Court,” on Monday he changed his tone.

“I thank the Electoral Courts for their extraordinary work, every public servant of the TSE, the Armed Forces, everyone who took part in this election which was a demonstration of citizenship and love for Brazil,” said Mr. Bolsonaro. He also directly addressed the TSE and asked that its work during the election “would serve as an example for Brazil” in years to come.

The social media election

Another main focus of Mr. Bolsonaro’s certification speech was the role of social media in changing modern society, and its influence on this year’s elections. “We are living in a new age,” he said. “October’s elections revealed a new experience, popular power no longer needs any intermediation.”

With precious little time on free-to-air television advertisements, Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign was almost exclusively built on social networks, particularly Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger. “New technologies have allowed for a new relationship between voters and their representatives.”

The president-elect’s push for victory was nearly derailed a week before the final vote when newspaper Folha de S.Paulo revealed a network of companies had illegally hired social media agencies to send hundreds of millions of WhatsApp messages to voters attacking Mr. Bolsonaro’s rival, the Workers’ Party’s Fernando Haddad. Each “pack” of messages reportedly cost up to BRL 12 million.

Despite the cordial atmosphere of the ceremony, TSE Chief Justice Rosa Weber used her closing speech to emphasize the importance of human rights, an issue which has been disregarded by the president-elect and his supporters.

Ms. Weber highlighted that Monday was World Human Rights Day, a day of celebrating “the recognition of the dignity of every member of the human race and their nontransferable rights of liberty justice and peace.”

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PowerDec 11, 2018

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BY The Brazilian Report

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