(Bloomberg) — Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro seems poised to skip the inauguration of his successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Jan. 1, shunning a traditional power handover ceremony in Brasilia to spend New Year’s Eve celebrations in the US.
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While Bolsonaro has kept mum in public about his plans, Brazil’s official gazette on Wednesday published an authorization for an army official to travel to the US in the final days of the year as part of “a security detail for the president and his family during a trip to Miami.”
Since his defeat to Lula on Oct. 30, Bolsonaro has been debating whether to take part in the highly symbolic ceremony where the green-and-yellow presidential sash is passed from one leader to the next. In a TV interview earlier this month, Vice President Hamilton Mourao advised Bolsonaro to complete the task as an act of nobility and defiance, and declined to take on the responsibility, saying it isn’t the job of a vice president.
The foreign ministry referred questions on Bolsonaro’s possible US trip to his office, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Bolsonaro’s decision, if confirmed, will be reminiscent of Donald Trump’s skipping Joe Biden’s swearing in ceremony in 2021 and Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ditching the inauguration of Mauricio Macri in 2015. It will also cap a politically convoluted year in Brazil that saw supporters of the outgoing president protesting the result of Lula’s razor-thin victory across the country.
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