Lula Will Have to Govern a Different Brazil


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Brazilians have to hope that an ugly campaign, threats, political violence, and post-election protests will all give way to a better day for their troubled country. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known popularly as Lula, will again serve as Brazil’s president. (Lula previously held the job from 2003-2010.) Despite warnings that only God could remove him from office, incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has promised to abide by the constitution and allow the political enemy who defeated him to take office. He has even called for road-blocking strikes by truckers on his behalf to come to an end. Fears of a military coup to save Bolsonaro were always overblown, and Lula will become president in January.

And from there, the going will get tough.

Lula’s margin of victory was less than two percentage points, the closest presidential outcome in Brazil’s modern history. (In 2002, Lula won by 22.5 percent and by 20.6 percent in 2006.) Half this increasingly polarized country considers him a criminal and/or a dangerous leftist ideologue who will transform Brazil into crisis-plagued Venezuela.

In addition, the country’s economy is far weaker than the last time Lula held power. Brazil’s worst post-war recession (2015-2016), which helped bring down former president Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s handpicked successor, and the slowdown imposed by COVID-19 will leave Lula with little money to spend on the kinds of poverty-alleviating projects he invested in during his first run as president, a boom time for Brazil’s commodity exports which helped fill government coffers. Today, China’s sharply slowing economy has hit Brazilian exporters hard. Troubles in the United States make matters worse. Inflation in Brazil is now running at 9 percent, cutting deeply into the purchasing power of many who live from hand to mouth. And Lula must also be careful in coming months to…



Source : time


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