On Sunday, Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was inaugurated as president, delivering a hopeful speech about plans for reconstruction and promising to hold members of Jair Bolsonaro’s outgoing administration accountable.
Lula’s Third Term: A Political Comeback in a Divided Brazil
Lula’s third term as president marks the successful conclusion of a political comeback.
It has excited his supporters and enraged his opponents in a deeply divided country. Bolsonaro, a far-right incumbent, was unable to secure a second term.
During a speech before Congress, Lula sought to reassure the nation, stating his message to Brazil was one of hope and reconstruction. He recognized the great edifice of rights, sovereignty, and development that his nation built had been dismantled.
This Brazil’s new Justice Minister being greeted by crowd watching Lula inauguration. Former judge @FlavioDino today announced a clamp down on sales of military grade firearms and a freeze on permits for gun clubs that exploded under Bols@#*ro. pic.twitter.com/Qd1Mol0O53
— Lúcia Guimarães (@luciaguimaraes) January 2, 2023
On Sunday afternoon, Brasilia’s main esplanade was filled with celebration as tens of thousands of supporters, dressed in the red of Lula’s Workers’ Party, cheered at his inauguration.
The president’s promises to report on the previous administration to lawmakers and judicial authorities, revoke Bolsonaro’s “criminal decrees” easing gun control, and hold the prior administration accountable for its COVID-19 denialism were met with particular enthusiasm.
Lula stated while they do not harbor any desire for revenge against those who tried to dominate the country for their own personal and ideological purposes, they will ensure the rule of law is upheld.
Without mentioning Bolsonaro by name, he added those who made mistakes will be held accountable within the legal process, with full rights to defend themselves.
Political analysts predict Lula’s presidency will be unlike his previous two terms, given the highly contested nature of the presidential race and the resistance to his taking office by some opponents.
Lula Wins Controversial Election, Faces Economic Challenges
In October’s election, the leftist Lula narrowly defeated Bolsonaro by less than two percentage points. However, Bolsonaro and his supporters refused to accept the loss, casting doubt on the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system.
In the months following the election, some of Bolsonaro’s most ardent supporters even resorted to what authorities and incoming members of Lula’s administration have called “terrorism” – causing security concerns for inauguration day events.
As he begins his third term, Lula will face more difficult economic conditions than during his previous two terms, when Brazil benefited from the global commodities boom.
President Lula took office alongside indigenous, black, LGBTQIA+, and other representatives of the immense Brazil.
Welcome back democracy and hope! pic.twitter.com/3eUL0hlyux
— Tábita Hünemeier 🏳️🌈 (@hunemeier_t) January 1, 2023
During his previous terms in office, Lula’s administration implemented a successful welfare program that lifted millions of impoverished people into the middle class, earning him an impressive approval rating of 83% when he left office.
However, the country’s economy subsequently suffered through two severe recessions – one under his chosen successor and another during the pandemic – causing hardship for many Brazilians.
Lula stated his priorities include addressing poverty, investing in education and health, and stopping illegal deforestation in the Amazon. In order to defeat Bolsonaro, he sought support from political moderates and appointed some of them to his cabinet.This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.