Lula Sworn in for Third Term as Brazil's President

On Sunday, Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the capital of Brasília. The 76-year-old leftist leader assumed the country's highest office for the third time.

Lula Sworn in for Third Term as Brazil's President
Image credit: AP

Facts

  • On Sunday, Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the capital of Brasília. The 76-year-old leftist leader assumed the country's highest office for the third time.
  • After his swearing-in ceremony, Lula vowed to unite the deeply divided South American country, end the alleged "era of darkness" of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, and usher in a new era of social justice, environmental reform, and reconciliation.
  • During his speech in Congress, the former labor leader delivered a message of "hope and reconstruction," promising to fight poverty, work for racial and gender equality, and end deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
  • On Friday, Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida in the United States. By choosing to skip the inauguration of his rival and refusing to present Lula with the presidential sash, Bolsonaro reportedly made his refusal to accept Lula's victory clear.
  • In the October 2022 presidential election, Lula defeated Bolsonaro by less than 2% — ending the country’s most right-wing government in decades. While Bolsonato never conceded defeat, his supporters have called on the army to intervene and overturn the election results.
  • Lula left office in 2010 with an 83% approval rating. But in 2017, he was sentenced to prison on corruption charges, which the Supreme Court overturned in 2021; In his third term, Lula confronts a sluggish economy and political tensions.

Sources: CNN, Guardian, Al Jazeera, DW, NPR Online News, and Time.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Wall Street Journal. Lula's controversial comeback threatens Brazil's democracy and the rule of law. His return to power is concerning because he intends to increase public spending, stop privatization, and reverse anti-corruption reforms. Moreover, Brazil's increasingly politicized Supreme Court — which arranged his release from prison — is overstepping its authority toward Congress. When the left's hype about the country's self-proclaimed champion of the poor fades, Brazilians could be in for a rude awakening.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Fair Observer. Lula owes his return to power to millions of Brazilians who elected him to combat poverty and hunger, resurrect the dwindling political system, and reverse Bolsonaro's unpopular policies that plunged the country into a deep democratic crisis. Though it may be difficult for the leftist government to implement its populist social and environmental policies since the extreme right dominates the National Congress, Lula has the will and the mandate to find solutions to the real-life problems that afflict most Brazilians.