Lula has the task of rebuilding Brazilian democracy

Albeit by a narrow margin, on October 30, the Labor Party candidate (Pt, left) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the ballot and was elected president of Brazil with 50.9 percent of the vote. The outgoing far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, obtained 49.1 of the preferences. Abstention remained high, 20.5 percent, more or less the same as in the first round.

Lula, 77, has already ruled the country from 2003 to 2010, bringing more than thirty million people out of poverty, also thanks to a favorable international context and successful social programs financed by the commodity boom in the early 2000s. But at the same time during his two terms and during that of Dilma Rousseff – who succeeded him in 2011 – he attracted many enemies and criticism from a part of Brazilians following some accusations of corruption (actually very fragile) in the scope of the lava jato investigation(car wash), conducted by the judge Sérgio Moro. In 2018 Lula was sentenced to twelve years in prison and was unable to attend the presidential elections which took place in the fall and were won by Bolsonaro. Then in March 2021, in an unexpected decision, a Supreme Court judge overturned the corruption convictions against Lula, thus allowing him to return to the political scene.

Today Lula is no longer what he used to be: he has aged and has neither the energy nor the ideas of the past. Furthermore, his candidacy has made it clear that in the last twenty years the Workers’ Party has not been able to renew itself and has not favored a generation change. But it is undeniable that Lula was also the safest bet to defeat Bolsonaro and to lead Brazil after the worst government since the end of the military dictatorship and the return to democracy in 1985. In just four years Bolsonaro has weakened democratic institutions, attacked without modesty the supreme court and the superior electoral court, created a machine to spread false news, criminally managed the covid-19 pandemic, comparing it to “a flu” and denying the effectiveness of vaccines and restrictive measures to prevent the circulation of the virus. The pandemic has caused more than 680,000 victims in Brazil, the fifth country with the most deaths from covid in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Then there were the measures that loosened the rules for the possession of weapons and the reckless policy conducted in the Amazon. Bolsonaro took a series of measures to incentivize mining concessions and mining activity in indigenous territories and reduced environmental vigilance across the country by cutting funding and reducing the tasks of the state institutions that dealt with them. During his tenure, deforestation and fires have grown so much that, according to many scientists, the forest is reaching the point of no return, where it begins to emit more carbon than it can absorb, thus entering a process of desertification.

His contempt for democracy went so far as not to intervene even on the day of the ballot, when in the Northeast region the federal traffic police stopped more than six hundred buses loaded with people who were going to vote. The operation violated the indications of the president of the supreme electoral court, Alexandre de Moraes, who had expressly prohibited the actions of the traffic police on public transport made available for voting. In the region, which is the electoral fiefdom of the left and of Lula, 27 percent of Brazilian voters live and in the first round 67 percent had voted for the leader of the PT.

The next steps What awaits Lula from January 1, 2023, when she takes office in the Planalto building, is a difficult and delicate task. On the one hand, it must recover the values ​​that have been lost in the last four years, rebuilding a deeply divided country where Bolsonaro’s ideas are still rooted and have taken hold in a large sector of society. On the other hand, it must face a serious internal economic and social crisis, with thirty million citizens suffering from hunger or living in a situation of food insecurity and extreme poverty.

In his speech in São Paulo immediately after the victory, the president-elect said it bluntly: “We have a duty to ensure that every Brazilian can have breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. This will once again be my government’s number one commitment ”. He also added that he will rule for all 215 million Brazilians, not just those who voted for him: “There are no two countries. We are one Brazil, one state, one great nation ”.

It might seem like a dutiful invitation to conciliation and national unity from a newly elected president, but it is particularly important at a time when Brazilian democracy is showing clear signs of fragility.

However, for his ambitious goal, Lula will not be helped by either the international or the internal context, given that the Bolsonaro group is very strong in parliament and one of its candidates, the military Tarcísio de Freitas, has been elected governor of São Paulo. richest and most populous state in the country and will likely lead the opposition to the government.

As the País points out in the editorial, it is essential that Lula seek dialogue with all the democratic forces in the country and also with the more moderate right. Only in this way can you hope to isolate Bolsonaro and his policies and, at the same time, guarantee stability to the executive. “It is time for Brazil to close the toxic phase of the Bolsonaro government and, led by Lula, to set out on the path of coexistence”. The proclamations made during the election campaign are behind us, now the responsibilities of government begin.

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