SAO PAULO – Brazil’s largest left-leaning opposition parties said Friday they will boycott the inauguration of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 1.
The Workers’ Party, which governed between 2003 and 2016, and the Socialism and Liberty Party said their lawmakers and executives will not attend the ceremony in the capital city of Brasilia.
Several members of the Communist Party of Brazil also said they will shun the inauguration of the far-right leader who won 55 percent of the vote in the Oct.28 presidential run-off.
The three parties will have 75 of the 513 lawmakers in Brazil’s lower house. Bolsonaro’s Liberal and Social Party, which he joined in the beginning of the year, will hold 52 seats.
The Workers’ Party had fielded former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as its candidate and he was considered the front-runner until he was barred from running after being jailed for corruption and money laundering.
The party said in a statement that it recognizes the legitimacy of the results of the vote, but will boycott the inauguration due to the electoral process itself.
“The illegal prohibition of the candidacy of former president Lula and the criminal manipulation of social media to spread lies against candidate Fernando Haddad” favored the far-right leader in the elections, it said.
Both the Workers’ Party and the Socialism and Liberty Party said the decision was also an act of resistance to Bolsonaro, who has angered many with comments seen as homophobic, racist or offensive to women, as well as expressing nostalgia for Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.
Also on Friday, Brazilian authorities said security preparations for the inauguration are the most comprehensive ever.
The Secretary of Public Security in Brasilia told the Associated Press that they are expecting as many as 500,000 people to attend the ceremony.
Brazil’s military has deployed anti-aircraft missiles and fighter jets to protect the event from the air. On the ground, more than 3,000 police and military will take to the streets.
Security around the future Brazilian president has been elevated following a Sept. 6 knife attack that left him with a ruptured intestine.
Gardiner reported from Rio de Janeiro.