BRASILIA ( Associated Press) – Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in Sunday, expressing optimism about his reconstruction plans in his first speech and vowing to hold members of Jair Bolsonaro’s outgoing government accountable.
Lula took office for a third time after Bolsonaro’s failed re-election bid. His return to power marks the culmination of a political resurgence that has enthralled his supporters and greatly angered his rivals in a highly polarized nation.
“Our message to Brazil is one of hope and reconstruction,” Lula said in a speech to the lower house of Congress after signing a document officially establishing him as president. “This country has systematically demolished this great edifice of rights, sovereignty and development in recent years. And we are going to direct all our efforts to re-erect this edifice.”
The main part of Brasília was a party on Sunday afternoon. Thousands of red-clad supporters of the Workers’ Party, to which Lula belongs, cheered after his inauguration.
They also celebrated when the president said he would send all legislators and judicial officials a report on the previous government, repealing Bolsonaro’s “criminal decrees” that relaxed gun control regulations, and calling the previous government responsible for COVID-19. In front of you hold yourself accountable for your refusal. -19 pandemic.
Lula declared, without naming Bolsonaro, “We do not seek retribution against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological designs, but we are going to guarantee the rule of law. ” “Those who have erred shall answer for their errors with broad rights of defense within due legal process.”
According to political analysts, Lula’s presidency is unlikely to be like his previous two terms, with Brazil’s closest presidential race in more than three decades and opposition from some of his opponents to his assumption of office.
The left defeated Bolsonaro by less than two percentage points in the October 30 election. For months, Bolsonaro had cast doubt on the reliability of electronic voting, and his loyal supporters were reluctant to give up.
Since then, many of them have gathered outside the military barracks, questioning the results and calling on the armed forces to prevent Lula from becoming president.
His staunch supporters raised security concerns at the inauguration ceremony, describing some officials and members of the next government as acts of “terrorism”.
Lula will have to navigate more challenging economic conditions than during his first two terms, when a global commodity boom helped make Brazil prosperous.
At that time, his government’s welfare program helped millions of poor people reach the middle class. Many Brazilians traveled abroad for the first time. He had an 83% approval rating when he left office.
Since then, the country’s economy has suffered two deep recessions – the first during the presidency of his self-appointed successor, Dilma Rousseff, and the second during the coronavirus pandemic – and ordinary Brazilians have suffered greatly.
Lula has stated that his priorities are fighting poverty and investing in education and health care. Furthermore, he said that it would stop the illegal deforestation of the Amazon. He sought the support of moderate politicians to form a broad front to defeat Bolsonaro and selected some of them to join his government.
In his first act as president on Sunday, Lula signed a decree to tighten arms controls and set a 30-day deadline for the comptroller general’s office to evaluate many of Bolsonaro’s decrees , which kept official information under secrecy for 100 years. He also signed a decree guaranteeing monthly stipends for poor families and reinstated the Fund for the Sustainable Development of the Amazon, which is largely financed by Norway.
Claudio Arantes, a 68-year-old retiree, held an old Lula campaign flag as he walked down the esplanade. He has always been a supporter of the President. He attended his inauguration in 2003 and agrees that this time around he feels different.
“Back then we could talk about Brazil being united. Now it is broken and it will not recover soon,” Arantes said. “I trust in his wisdom to make this national unity government work so that we will never have Bolsonaro again.”
But given the country’s political turmoil, it is highly unlikely that Lula will regain the popularity he once enjoyed, or that his approval rating will exceed 50% Mauricio Santoro, Rio State said a professor of political science at the University de Janeiro.
Furthermore, according to Santoro, the new president and the credibility of the Workers’ Party were affected by the widespread corruption investigation. Some party members, including Lula, were jailed until their convictions were overturned on procedural grounds. The federal Supreme Court then determined that the judge presiding over the case had sided with the prosecution to ensure that he was found guilty.
Lula and his supporters say he was a victim. Others were willing to overlook any possible wrongdoing in order to remove Bolsonaro from power and bring the country back together again.
“I always wanted to go to the inauguration, I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see Lula there after he went to jail,” said Tamairs Valente, 43, a Brasilia marketer. “I’m feeling so excited, Lula deserves it.”
But Bolsonaro’s supporters refuse to accept the return of someone they see as a criminal to the country’s highest office. And with tensions so high, a series of events raised fears that violence could break out on inauguration day.
On 12 December, dozens tried to storm a federal police building in Brasília, and burned cars and buses in other parts of the city. On Christmas Eve, police arrested a 54-year-old man who admitted to building a bomb that was found in a fuel truck headed to the capital’s airport.
He had been camping in front of the army headquarters in Brasilia since 12 November along with hundreds of other Bolsonaro supporters. He told police he was ready for a war against communism, and according to excerpts from his statement published by the local press, he planned attacks with people he met at protests.
Bolsonaro finally condemned the bombing plan in his farewell speech on social media on 30 December, hours before he was to leave for the United States. His absence at the inauguration broke tradition.
In place of Bolsonaro, a group representing different sections of society took the role of presenting Lula with the presidential sash on the ramp of the Planalto palace. In a sea of people in front of the palace, some of his supporters carried a large Brazilian flag above their heads.
Addressing the gathering, Lula noted a reduction in government funds that would affect the people of Brazil. He pointed out that, according to the transition team’s report on the Bolsonaro government, textbooks for public schools have not been printed, there are not enough vaccines and free medicines against COVID-19, universities are at risk of closing and civil protection officials are not prepared for disasters. Can’t work to stop.
“The one who pays the price for this lagoon is, once again, the Brazilian people,” he declared, to which the attendees immediately responded by shouting: “No apologies! No apologies! No apologies!”
Associated Press reporter Diane Jeanette contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.