Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president for a third time on Sunday as supporters of his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro issued threats of violence.
Lula said: “I am committed to maintaining, defending and fulfilling the Constitution, obeying the law, promoting the general interests of the Brazilian people, and supporting the unity, integrity and independence of Brazil.”
The 76-year-old politician, returning to the presidency after a 12-year hiatus, arrived at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia with his wife Rosângela da Silva at 12:20 p.m. local time, Then headed to Congress, where a formal congressional session took place. place.
Lawmakers applauded Lula before chanting “ole, ole ola, Lula, Lula.”
The Senate president kicked off the ceremony by honoring Bailey and Pope Benedict with a minute’s silence.
During the ceremony, Lula broke with traditional etiquette and told a short story about the pen he used to sign congressional documents.
“I was at a rally in Piauy in 1989 and we walked to St. Benedict’s church and a townsman gave me this pen to log in when I won the election in ’89. I didn’t win ’89 Didn’t win ’94, didn’t win ’98. I won in 2002, but when I got here I forgot my pen and signed it with a Senator pen. In 2006 I signed it with a Senate pen Signed, now that I have found this pen, I did this to pay tribute to the people of the state of Piauí,” he said.
The newly inaugurated president and first lady then traveled in a convertible to a military honors ceremony outside the presidential palace.
Overshadowing the ceremony was the absence of Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for Florida on Friday without specifying a date for his return.
His trip to the United States broke with the practice of Brazil’s outgoing leader attending the inauguration of his successor. Meanwhile, Brazil’s government issued a decree on Friday authorizing five civil servants to accompany “future ex-president” Bolsonaro to Miami, Florida, between Jan. 1 and 30, 2023.
Lula won in a close contest on Oct. 30, a stunning comeback that marked the return of Brazil’s left to power after four years under Bolsonaro’s far-right government.
Lula has made a remarkable return to power after a string of corruption charges led to his 580-day imprisonment. The Supreme Court later ruled a mistrial, clearing the way for his re-election bid.
After governing Brazil for two consecutive terms from 2003 to 2010, Lula will inherit a country deeply indebted and much poorer than when he left office.
Speaking on state television on Saturday, Bolsonaro’s former vice-president Hamilton Mourao criticized the leader’s silence for creating an “atmosphere of confusion”.
“Leaders who are supposed to reassure and unite the country around national projects have allowed this silence to create an atmosphere of chaos and social division,” Mourao said, adding that the armed forces must foot the bill. Bolsonaro has only addressed the public three times since the election results were announced. In these speeches he did not accept the election results, inciting his radical supporters to believe the results could be reversed.
Lula vowed to rebuild the country after thanking “the Brazilian people for their pledge of confidence” in a speech to Congress.
“Our message to Brazil today is hope and reconstruction,” Lula said. “If we are here today, it is thanks to the political conscience of Brazilian society, and the democratic coalition we built during the campaign.”
Lula said democracy was the biggest winner in Brazil’s election after his campaign was able to overcome a series of hurdles.
“Nevertheless, the decision in the ballot prevailed thanks to an internationally recognized and efficient electoral system. This is at the root of the courageous attitude of the judiciary, mainly from the Supreme Electoral Court,” Lula continued.
In his speech, Lula criticized Bolsonaro’s government, accusing the former president of using Brazil’s resources to further increase his power.
“The diagnosis we received from the Transition Cabinet was appalling. They emptied health resources, dismantled education, culture, science, they destroyed environmental protection and left nothing for school feeding, vaccines, public safety, forest protection and resources for social assistance,” Lula said.
While his government says it is cooperating with the transition of power, Bolsonaro has yet to explicitly acknowledge his electoral defeat and violence has gripped the country.
The security presence at Lula’s inauguration was heavy, with some 8,000 security personnel from several security forces mobilized on Sunday, according to the Federal District security service.
A man was arrested in Brasilia earlier Sunday after trying to enter an inauguration party with a knife and fireworks, Brazil’s Federal District Police said in a statement. The suspect is from Rio de Janeiro.
As a precautionary measure ahead of the ceremony, a judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a four-day ban on carrying guns in the capital, which will run until Sunday.
It does not apply to active-duty military, police and private security, Justice Alexandre de Moraes wrote.
Lula da Silva’s team called for a ban on guns at the inauguration after police arrested a man suspected of planting and possessing an explosive device at Brasilia’s international airport.
The suspect, identified as George Washington de Oliveira Souza, 54, a gas station manager who is a Bolsonaro supporter, told police in a statement seen by CNN that he intended to ” Create chaos” to prevent Lula from taking office again in January.
Moraes’ ban came into effect as thousands of Bolsonaro supporters gathered in military camps across the country to protest the election results, calling for the military to step in as they claimed, without evidence, that the election had been stolen.
Bolsonaro condemned Sosa’s bombing attempt on Friday, saying it was an “act of terrorism” with “no justification”.
“Brazil will not end on January 1, you can be sure of that,” the outgoing president said of Lula’s inauguration date.
“Today we have a lot of people who know more about politics,” he added. “They understand they are at risk. Goodness wins. We have leaders all over Brazil. New politicians or re-elected politicians, they make a difference.”
Lula has praised Brazil’s natural resources and promised a major shift from his predecessor’s deforestation policies in the Amazon, while working to maximize the country’s potential.
“No other country has what Brazil has to become an environmental powerhouse. Starting from creativity, the bioeconomy and social biodiversity enterprise, we will start the energy and ecological transition towards sustainable farming and mining activities, family farming and green industry. Our goal is zero deforestation in the Amazon, zero greenhouse gas emissions,” Lula said in a speech to Congress.
“We will not tolerate (…) environmental degradation and deforestation that are causing such great harm to the country. This is one of the reasons, although not the only reason, for the creation of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples,” Lula continued.
Brazil’s new president has pledged to address inequalities suffered by the country’s minorities by establishing a “Ministry for the Promotion of Racial Equality to expand affirmative action policies in universities and public services, and to restore health policies targeting black and brown people,” education and cultural fields. ”