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Who Is Brazil’s New President?
News Bytes 01/30/2023 6 Comments

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as the new president of Brazil on January 1, 2023. He has a long history in Brazil. He was also president from 2003 to 2010. But he also spent time in prison for corruption. Who is Brazil’s new—and old—president, and what will his presidency look like?

The first thing to know about him is that he is always called Lula. It may seem odd to call a president by his nickname. However, in Brazilian culture, this is normal.

Lula was born into a very poor family in 1945. When he grew up, he became a famous trade union leader in Brazil. Lula often gave speeches supporting communism. He ran for president three times and lost before he finally won. During Lula’s presidency, there was a scandal called Big Monthly Payments. Lula’s political party was stealing billions of dollars from state-owned companies to pay members of Congress to vote for Lula’s legislation. Many people went to prison, but Lula avoided all blame.

During Lula’s first presidency, the Brazilian economy was strong. He was able to hand out lots of money in welfare. That made him very poplar. He left office with an 80% approval rating.

But then everything changed. Brazilian authorities discovered an even bigger corruption scandal. They called it Operation Car Wash. This time Lula did not get away. He was convicted of taking bribes and sent to prison in 2018. Disgusted with corruption, Brazilians elected right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro as president.

Everything changed again for Lula the following year. The Brazilian Supreme Court vacated his convictions on a technical matter. He was released and began running for president, again.

At this point, another person becomes important in Lula’s story: Alexandre de Moraes. He’s the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court and head of the court that oversees elections. During the election campaign, de Moraes investigated Bolsonaro supporters and banned President Bolsonaro and some media outlets from talking about Lula’s time in prison. Some Brazilians believe that gave Lula an unfair advantage.

Lula won the presidential election in October 2022 by less than 2% of the vote. During the campaign, Bolsonaro warned that electronic voting machines might be hacked. Some of his supporters say that is what happened. But Lula was sworn in anyway on January 1. On January 8, a protest by Bolsonaro supporters in Brasília, the capital of Brazil, turned into a riot when some of the protesters vandalized government buildings. Lula blamed Bolsonaro.

After the January 8th riot, de Moraes suspended the elected governor of Brasilia from his job. He also ordered the blocking of dozens of social media accounts. Many of them belonged to Bolsonaro supporters.

It is too early to say what Lula’s third term as president will be like. He is politically left-wing. However, he will have a hard time passing legislation because the Brazilian Congress is controlled by right-wing parties. Lula also will not have a lot of money to spend on welfare. The Brazilian economy is in a bad state after the pandemic. Lula supports de Moraes’ efforts to censor the media. This may turn out to be his true legacy.

(Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaks at the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 23, 2023. AP/Gustavo Garello)


WORLDteen thanks guest writer Emma Freire for this contribution. She is a senior writer at WORLD Magazine. She is married to a Brazilian man and spent three years living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Most recent comments


they shouldnt have made him president. He has shown us in the past that we cant trust him so why should we trust him now?

it will be interesting to see

it will be interesting to see what he does as president again, maybe that year in prison changed him in a good way or bad way.

yeah we will see

yeah we will see

that's just dumb to elect him

that's just dumb to elect him

dude looks evil

dude looks evil

Dont judge based on

Dont judge based on appearance. who knows he could be a good president this time

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