Lula sworn in as the new president of Brazil ~ WalkBrazil4K Travel Blog

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Lula sworn in as the new president of Brazil

Leftist leader Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva has been sworn in as president of Brazil under tightened security after alleged threats of violence by supporters of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

The ceremony in Congress began at 3pm (18:00 GMT) on Sunday, after which Lula was due to go to the Planalto Palace to don the presidential sash before a crowd of 30,000 supporters. Some 300,000 more were expected to gather to celebrate on Brasilia’s esplanade.

Foreign dignitaries, including 17 heads of state, will be in attendance. Among them will be the king of Spain and the presidents of Germany, Portugal, and a raft of Latin American countries.

Lula, 77, narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in October to win an unprecedented third presidential term after a hiatus that saw him spend a year and a half behind bars on corruption convictions that were later overturned.

In his previous years as the president of the Workers’ Party (PT) from 2003 to 2010, the former union leader lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty during a commodity boom that buoyed the economy.

“It is a comeback for the ages and Lula’s political projecture has been a trajectory of improbable accomplishments,” Gustavo Ribeiro, founder of the Brazilian Report, told Al Jazeera.

“He was a poverty migrant, worked as a shoe shiner, worked on a factory floor then rose to union leader. He lost three presidential races before he won two terms,” he said.

Now, Lula faces the daunting challenge of improving Brazil’s stagnant economy while also bringing together a country that has become painfully polarised under Bolsonaro.

“It is a very divided nation that Lula will inherit, and one of his many challenges will be to unite the country once more,” said Al Jazeera’s Monica Yanakiew, reporting from a sit-in where Bolsonaro supporters have been camping out for more than two months.

Ribeiro echoes that sentiment. “I don’t think Lula will benefit from that proverbial honeymoon period that new presidents enjoy. A big chunk of the country doesn’t see him as a legitimate leader. He will take over a cash-strapped government with a lot of challenges ahead of him,” he said.

Lula has promised, in his words, to “make Brazil happy again”. But he faces many hurdles, from rising poverty to public services in crisis, including lack of investment in education and healthcare.


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