SAO PAULO: Pledging to “rebuild” Brazil “with the people”,Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the tightest presidential race in decades, Al Jazeera reported.
The inauguration ceremony began with a car parade, musical performances and a speech by the Workers Party (PT) member. The inauguration was held under tightened security after alleged threats of violence by supporters of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.
“Our message to Brazil is one of hope and reconstruction,” Lula said in a speech in Congress’ Lower House after signing the document that formally instated him as president, according to Al Jazeera.
“The great edifice of rights, sovereignty and development that this nation built has been systematically demolished in recent years. And to re-erect this edifice, we are going to direct all our efforts.”
Silva also promised to fight to improve life for poor Brazilians, work towards racial and gender equality, and achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
“The mandate we received, in the face of opponents inspired by fascism, will be defended through our democratic constitution. We will respond to hate with love, to lies with the truth, to terrorism and violence with the law,” Al Jazeera quoted Silva as saying.
Silva emerged as the country’s new president in October 2022. Widely known as “Lula”, the politician gained 50.83 per cent of the votes, with over 98 per cent of the votes counted in a fiercely contested run-off election on Sunday whereas his opponent Bolsonaro managed to get 49.17 per cent votes.
Earlier on October 2, CNN reported that none of the candidates could hit the 5 per cent mark needed to win in the first round. The presidential candidates also voted on Sunday as Lula cast his vote at a public school in the Sao Paulo metro Area and Bolsonaro cast his ballot in Rio de Janeiro early Sunday morning.
Notably, this year’s elections allowed for the eligibility of more than 156 million people to cast their votes.
Lula, 76, focused his campaign on getting Bolsonaro out of the office and highlighted his past achievements throughout his campaign. His campaign promised a new tax regime that will allow for higher public spending. He has vowed to end hunger in the country, which has returned during the Bolsonaro government.
Whereas, Bolsonaro, 67, ran for re-election under the conservative Liberal Party. He has campaigned to increase mining, privatize public companies, and generate more sustainable energy to bring down energy prices. He has vowed to continue paying a Brazilian real 600 (about USD 110) monthly benefit known as Auxilio Brasil.
Often referred to as the “Trump of the Tropics,” Bolsonaro, who is supported by key evangelical leaders, is a highly polarizing figure. His government is known for its support of ruthless exploitation of land in the Amazon, leading to record deforestation figures.
Moreover, Lula is also no stranger to controversy. He was convicted for corruption and money laundering in 2017, on charges stemming from the wide-ranging “Operation Car Wash” investigation into the state-run oil company Petrobras.
But after serving less than two years, a Supreme Court Justice annulled Lula’s conviction in March 2021, clearing the way for him to run for president for the sixth time. (ANI)