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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Defeated presidential candidate Aecio Neves of the PSDB (Social Democracy Party) returned to Congress on Tuesday to reclaim his senator’s seat, pledging to be a strong opposition force in the Senate and demand that President Dilma Rousseff keep her campaign promises.

Aecio Neves receives warm welcome from crowd as he returns to Congress as Senator from Minas Gerais, photo by Wilson Dias/Agencia Brasil
Aecio Neves receives warm welcome from crowd as he returns to Congress as Senator from Minas Gerais, photo by Wilson Dias/Agencia Brasil.

“I will lead a strong opposition. If they want to talk they will have to present proposals that are of interest to the Brazilian population,” he said to a crowd waiting for him outside the Congressional building in Brasilia.

Neves rejected the recent protests calling for the impeachment of newly re-elected President Dilma Rousseff, stating that there was no basis for such a demand. He also criticized those who call for the return of military rule in Brazil. “I was the candidate of liberty, of democracy, of respect. Those who act in a violent and authoritarian manner are in another political group, not ours,” he shouted to the crowd.

On Sunday, November 2nd thousands of protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities to demand a re-counting of votes from the October 26th election, where Rousseff defeated Neves in one of the closest races since Brazil’s return to democracy. Many protesters also called for the impeachment of the President.

Neves said Tuesday that he would now speak not only for his constituents in Minas Gerais, but for the millions of Brazilians who voted for him. “I reclaim my seat in Congress to take on the responsibility that has been handed to me by 51 million Brazilians,” he said.

“If the government looks it will see more than 51 million Brazilians who are watching and demanding actions to be taken in regards to corruption and the improvement of social and economic indicators,” he added.

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