The elected president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, knows that he has to govern “for the 215 million Brazilians” and has assured that “two countries do not exist”. But the results of the ballot show that it will not be easy for him: the polls reflect a country fractured between two opposing visions, and a Congress and three important states dominated by Bolsonarism.
Lula, who was running his sixth campaign and won an unprecedented third presidential victory, acknowledged in his celebration speech that he will govern “in a very difficult situation.”
For now, the former president (2003-2010) has not received a call from Bolsonaro to congratulate him on his victory, as defeated candidates traditionally do in Brazil, and despite the fact that several of the far-right’s collaborators and allies did so on the night of the Sunday. Countries such as the US, China, Russia, Argentina or France, among many others, have also congratulated him and have shown themselves willing to work with him.
“I would like to be just cheerful, but I am cheerful and half worried. Because from tomorrow I have to start worrying about how are we going to govern this country. I need to know if the president that we have defeated will allow a transition, so that we can be aware of things,” said Lula, who at just 77 years of age will become the oldest president to take office.
But probably this ‘impasse’ created by Bolsonaro –something expected given his intense campaign to discredit the polls– and the fact that he has won with the narrowest margin (50.9% vs. 49.1%) since the redemocratization of the country, it will not be the greatest obstacle that the leftist has to face in the four years of government that lies ahead.
unite the country
“I have two months to set up a government. I need to choose well each person who is going to participate in the new democratization of our country,” his followers said on Sunday night.
His first goal will be to try to unite a completely polarized country since the former Army captain came to power with a hate speech towards a left, which was in power for 14 years until former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached by Congress in 2016.
“In order for it to be successful, it will have to preach from the beginning for national pacification, for the unity of the country, and it will have to demonstrate already in the composition of its government that will to make a broader government, a government that makes a move to the center and even to the right”, considered the analyst Josias de Souza on the UOL portal.
Part of his work will involve approaching the influential lobbies that Bolsonaro seduced in 2018, such as the evangelicals (a I believe that more than a third of Brazilians already practice), the ruralistas –a thriving sector that attracts a lot of foreign currency to the country–, and the military and supporters of weapons in the name of self-defense.
Aid Brazil, minimum wage
Among the most urgent decisions will be maintaining the Auxilio Brasil economic aid program – which will once again be called Bolsa Familia, as Lula baptized it in 2003 and later changed by Bolsonaro – and increasing the real minimum wage.
Lula includes a country that in the first three years of Bolsonaro grew an average of 0.6%, highly affected by the pandemicand that in 2021 closed with annual inflation of 10.06%the worst figure since 2015, which greatly affected the purchasing power of Brazilians, especially among the poorest.
The stimulus measures taken by Bolsonaro in the last year ahead of the elections managed to contain inflation and lowered unemployment to 8.7%, the best level since 2015. Lula will have the challenge of continuing this trend.
You will also find a Brazil hit again by hunger, which already affects more than 30 million people, partly as a result of the pandemic.
“We cannot accept as normal that millions of men, women and children in this country do not have enough to eat, or that they consume fewer calories and protein than necessary,” he said.
Beginning in 2003, when he became president, Lula spent vast amounts of money on social programs, thanks to a prolonged commodity boom that lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty, earning him great recognition inside and outside Brazil.
Now he intends to repeat it, but the situation of the Brazilian coffers is very different: to try to connect with the poorest, Bolsonaro had to use the public machine and even circumvented the tax ceiling imposed by the Constitution. Since August, he announced direct aid to the most disadvantaged in the amount of 21,000 million reais (about 4,000 million dollars).
A more right-wing Congress
Lula will have to bring out his cunning as an experienced Brazilian politician to advance his projects. The task will not be easy because the Congress that emerged from the legislative elections on October 2 is much more to the right, conservative and related to Bolsonaro.
The far-right Liberal Party (PL) became the leading force in both the Chamber (99 of 513 deputies) and the Senate (14 of 81 senators). If its allied parties are taken into account, Bolsonarism will be able to make a real and determined opposition in both chambers.
The PT has 68 deputies, if the parties that were part of its coalition are added, it would reach 120 seats.
Lula will work to get associated with the so-called ‘centrao’, an influential group of parties known for trading their support for the government in turn in exchange for positions and other benefits. The elected president will also have to deal with Bolsonarist governors in the three largest electoral colleges in Brazil –Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro–, as well as in other smaller states, such as Santa Catarina or the Federal District.
Lula’s victory is a respite for the Brazilian Amazon, which in these years of Bolsonaro has registered records of deforestation and fires. According to environmentalists, this is due to the rhetoric and the actions it took the now outgoing president to favor the advance of agribusiness on protected areas, including indigenous reserves.
“In our government we managed to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80%. Now, we will fight for zero deforestation,” assured the patriarch of the left.
The president-elect has promised, for example, that he will once again provide resources to the environmental control bodies, which were reduced during Bolsonaro’s mandate. Currently, several controversial projects promoted by Bolsonaro and his allies are being processed in Congress, including one that would allow mining in indigenous reserves. It remains to be seen what happens to them with Lula in the Planalto Palace.
Brazil in the world
Lula will try to recover the international relevance that Brazil had during his mandate. According to analysts, Bolsonarist diplomacy leaves Brazil isolated, especially due to its efforts to end the traditional equidistance, with its excessive alignment with former US President Donald Trump, to the detriment of China (its main trading partner, ahead of the US). .), and with countries governed by the conservative right.
The president’s environmental policy also contributed to this isolation, which earned him criticism from many countries and brought him into a confrontation with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, over the Amazon.
“We are going to visit the world and restore our credibility,” Lula said several times during the campaign.
The PT will also be able to reconnect Brazil with its neighbors in South America, a region governed by the left in most countries, from which Bolsonaro had distanced himself.
If you liked it, share it with your friends!