Bolsonaro, reportedly, left his official residence without comment on Monday morning for the presidential offices, where he was photographed walking down a corridor with a grim face.

Supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, mainly truck drivers, block the BR-101 highway in Palhoca, in the metropolitan region of Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil, on October 31, 2022, as an apparent protest over Bolsonaro's defeat in the presidential run-off election.
Supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, mainly truck drivers, block the BR-101 highway in Palhoca, in the metropolitan region of Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil, on October 31, 2022, as an apparent protest over Bolsonaro's defeat in the presidential run-off election. (AFP)

Brazil's right wing President Jair Bolsonaro maintained an increasingly loud silence on Monday after his election defeat, failing to acknowledge his loss to veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — who faces a tough to-do list.

Twenty-four hours after the close of voting in Sunday's deeply polarizing runoff election, Bolsonaro had still not recognised the outcome -- raising fears he could try to challenge it, with potentially turbulent results for the country.

Charismatic but tarnished ex-president Lula defeated Bolsonaro by the narrowest margin in Brazil's modern history -- 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent -- to return for an unprecedented third term at the helm of Latin America's biggest economy from January 1.

After a dirty, divisive campaign that left the country of 215 million people split in two, the 77-year-old leftist icon now faces a laundry list of challenges, including a struggling economy, rampant destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and a powerful and angry far-right.

But first, there is the giant question mark over whether Bolsonaro will accept defeat.

The far-right president has not spoken publicly or on his beloved social media accounts since the result was announced, after months of alleging fraud in the electoral system and a conspiracy against him.

The transition period got off to a tense start as pro-Bolsonaro truckers and protesters blocked highways in at least 11 states across the country Monday, burning tires and parking vehicles in the middle of the road to halt traffic.

Wearing the yellow and green of the Brazilian flag -- which the outgoing president has adopted as his own -- the protesters wielded pro-Bolsonaro signs and sang the national anthem, before gradually being broken up by the authorities in some areas.

On Monday night Judge Alexander de Moraes of the Supreme Court ordered police to disperse the blockades immediately. He was acting in response to a request by a transport federation that complained it was losing business.

READ MORE: Lula defeats Bolsonaro in tight Brazil election

Remaining silent

There was meanwhile radio silence from Bolsonaro, whose absence sparked jokes online.

One meme that went viral earlier Monday featured a picture of a vaguely disoriented-looking Bolsonaro, with the caption, "Missing: elderly man, very talkative, has not been heard from in 12 hours."

First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro meanwhile denied swirling rumors of a post-election marital crisis, after she and her husband reportedly stopped following each other on social media.

AFP journalists said Bolsonaro left his official residence without comment on Monday morning for the presidential offices, where he was photographed walking down a corridor with a grim face.

Officials there said the former army captain was meeting with cabinet ministers.

There are fears Bolsonaro, 67, could attempt a Brazilian version of the US Capitol riots which rocked that country after his political role model, former US president Donald Trump, refused to accept his election defeat in 2020.

But the Brazilian leader may find himself isolated.

Some key Bolsonaro allies have publicly recognised his loss, including the powerful speaker of the lower house of Congress, Arthur Lira.

Source: AFP