Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president for a third time on Sunday, as threats of violence emerged from supporters of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.
“I promise to uphold, protect and enforce the constitution, abide by the law, promote the common interests of the Brazilian people, and support the unity, integrity and independence of Brazil,” Lula said.
The 76-year-old politician, returning to the presidency after a 12-year hiatus, accompanied his wife, Rosângela da Silva, to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasília at 12:20 p.m. local time before heading to the parliament where the event took place. official session of parliament. place.
MPs applauded Lula before beginning chants of “ole, ole ola, Lula, Lula.”
The President of the Senate opened the ceremony by paying respects to Pelé and Pope Benedict with a minute of silence.
During the ceremony, Lula broke with tradition to tell a short story about the pen he used to sign congressional documents.
“In 1989, during a protest in Piaui, we then walked to the church of San Benedict, and a resident gave me this pen and asked me to use it to sign if I won the election. year ’89. I didn’t win in ’89, I didn’t win in ’94, I didn’t win in ’98. In 2002 I won, but when I got here I forgot my pen and signed with a senator’s pen. In 2006, I signed with the pen of the Senate, and now I have found the pen, and I do it in honor of the people of Piaui,” he said.
The newly inaugurated president and first lady then traveled in an open-top convoy to attend a military honor ceremony outside the presidential palace.
Looming over the ceremony was the notable absence of Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for Florida on Friday and has an unspecified return date.
His trip to the United States breaks Brazil’s convention of outgoing leaders being present at their successors’ inaugurations. It comes as the Brazilian government issued an executive order on Friday allowing five civil servants to accompany “future former president” Bolsonaro to Miami, Florida, from January 1 to 30, 2023.
Lula won a close race on October 30, in a spectacular comeback that marked the return of the left to power in Brazil after four years under the rule of the far-right Bolsonaro.
Lula completed a substantial return to power after a series of corruption charges resulted in him serving 580 days in prison. The Supreme Court later ruled it was an erroneous trial, clearing the way for him to run for re-election.
After running Brazil for two consecutive terms from 2003 to 2010, Lula will inherit a country with high debt and poverty levels far higher than when he left office.
Hamilton Mourao, Bolsonaro’s former vice president, addressed the nation in a nationally televised address this Saturday on the last day of his government and criticized leaders whose silence Their silence created “an atmosphere of chaos”.
“Leaders should reassure and unite the nation around a project for the country that has allowed that silence to create an atmosphere of chaos and social division,” Mourao said. added that the armed forces must pay the price. Since the election results, Bolsonaro has only spoken in public three times. He did not accept the election results at those addresses, leading his radical establishment to believe that the results could be reversed.
Lula vowed to rebuild the country, after thanking the “oath of trust of the Brazilian people” in a speech to the National Assembly.
“Our message to Brazil today is hope and reconstruction,” said Lula. “If we are here today, it is because of the political conscience of Brazilian society and the democratic coalition that we built during the election campaign.”
Lula says democracy is the biggest winner of the Brazilian election after his campaign was able to overcome a series of obstacles.
“Despite everything, the decision on the ballots will prevail, thanks to an electoral system that is internationally recognized for its effectiveness. That is the basis of the courageous attitude of the Judiciary, mainly from the Supreme Electoral Court,” continued Lula.
Lula continued her speech by criticizing Bolsonaro’s government, accusing the former president of using Brazilian resources to further his power.
“The diagnosis we received from the switch cabinet was appalling. They deplete resources for health, destroy education, culture, science, they destroy environmental protections, leave no resources for school meals, vaccines, security. public, forest protection and social assistance,” said Lula.
Lula revoked Bolsonaro’s government measures on his first day as president, reversing Bolsonaro’s loosening of gun and ammunition controls and his strong commitment to expanding gun ownership in Brazil .
The president also re-established the Amazon Foundation, which uses foreign funds for anti-deforestation and environmental protection projects in the Amazon. To date, Germany and Norway are the main donors of the Amazon Foundation. Under Bolsonaro, the fund remained untouched while then-environment minister Ricardo Salles dissolved the committees responsible for managing the resource.
Lula has approved the rebuilding of Brazil’s main environmental agency, Ibama, which has cut staff after Bolsonaro made severe budget cuts.
Lula signed an executive order that established a monthly federal grant of 600 reais for low-income families. The show’s original name, Bolsa Família, was also restored. Bolsonaro changed his name to Auxilio Brasil during his rule.
Lula also extended tax cuts on fuel, a measure introduced by Bolsonaro in 2022 to lower the price of gasoline pumps that expire at the end of the year. Lula renewed it for 60 days. The measure is seen by many as populist and controversial because it deprives the federal government of resources.
These last two bills are “interim measures,” meaning they are set up for 60 days to allow time for Congress to discuss and vote on.
Violence has enveloped the country with Bolsonaro still yet to explicitly admit losing his election, even though his administration says it is cooperating with the transition of power.
The security presence at Lula’s inauguration was high, as about 8,000 security personnel from several security forces were mobilized on Sunday, according to the Federal District security department.
Earlier on Sunday, a man was arrested in Brasilia after he was arrested trying to enter an inaugural party carrying a knife and fireworks, the State Police of the Federal District said in a statement. The suspect traveled from Rio de Janeiro.
A Brazilian Supreme Court judge on Wednesday ordered four-day ban about carrying guns in the capital will last through Sunday, as a precaution ahead of the ceremony.
It will not apply to active members of the armed forces, police and private security guards, Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote.
Lula da Silva’s group demanded a ban on guns during the inauguration days after the police catch a man on suspicion of planting and possessing an explosive device at Brasilia International Airport.
The suspect, identified as 54-year-old gas station manager George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, is a Bolsonaro supporter and told police in a statement, seen by CNN, that he intended to “create chaos.” chaos” to prevent Lula from taking office again in January.
Moraes’ ban went into effect as thousands of Bolsonaro supporters gathered in army barracks across the country to protest the election results, demanding the military intervene when they claimed, without evidence, that the election was stolen.
Bolsonaro condemn Sousa attempted to bomb Friday, saying there was “no justification” for an “act of terror.”
“Brazil won’t end on January 1st, you can be sure of that,” the outgoing president said of Lula’s inauguration date.
He added: “Today we have a lot of people who know more about politics. “They understand that they are at risk. Thien will win. We have leaders all over Brazil. New politicians or re-elected politicians, they will make a difference.”
Lula praised Brazil’s natural resources and promised to return to its predecessor’s deforestation policy in the Amazon while working towards maximizing the country’s potential.
“No other country has qualified for Brazil to be an environmental powerhouse. With creativity, bioeconomy and socio-biodiversity businesses as the starting point, we will begin the energy and ecological transition towards sustainable mining and agriculture practices. , family farming and green industry. Our goal is zero deforestation in the Amazon, zero greenhouse gas emissions,” Lula said in her speech to Congress.
“We will not tolerate (…) environmental degradation and deforestation that has caused great harm to the country. This is one of the reasons, although not the only reason, to establish an indigenous ministry,” continued Lula.
Brazil’s new president promises to tackle the inequality inflicted on minorities in the country by creating a “Racial Equality Promotion Department to Expand Affirmative Action Policy in Universities”. and public services, as well as the resumption of black and brown policies in the health, educational, and cultural sectors.”