Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took oath of office for his third term as President of Brazil on January 1.The 77-year-old ex-metal worker, who served as Brazil’s President from 2003 to 2010, took the oath of office before Congress and vowed to maintain, defend, and obey the constitution as he is returning to lead the biggest economy in Latin America after a bitterly divisive election in October.
A blue suit and tie were worn by Mr. Lula for the swearing-in ceremony, which began with a minute of silence for the Brazilian football legend Pele and former Pope Benedict XVI, both of whom died recently. In a sign of the scars that remain from the election showdown between Mr. Lula and far-right ex-army general Mr. Bolsonaro in October, there was exceptionally tight security at the pomp-filled ceremony in Brazil. There were approximately 8000 security personnel on the scene.
Despite the various chaotic aftermaths of the election, the party spirit of Mr. Lula was hardly dampened. There were tens of thousands of people present at the new year’s day ceremony, and a massive celebration concert was organized featuring acts ranging from samba legend Martinho da Vila to drag queen Pabllo Vittar.
Thousands of supporters of Lula from across the country formed massive lines to filter through the security cordons and further belted out pro-Lula chants. After travelling 30 hours by bus from the southern state of Santa Catarina, a retired teacher named Zenia Maria Soares Pinto, aged 71, expressed that he was excited beyond measure. He further added that he has much admiration for Mr. Lula’s humility and his commitment to ensuring people live in dignity.
President Lula faces numerous urgent challenges in the Latin American behemoth. These include reviving economic growth, restricting the rampant destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and delivering on his ambitious agenda to fight inequality and poverty.
Meanwhile, markets are observing Mr. Lula to see how he will fund his promised social spending, given the stretched government finances of Brazil. Moreover, Mr. Lula has to face a Congress dominated by the conservative allies of Mr. Bolsonaro.
Mr. Lula was congratulated on Twitter by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, for assuming office as Brazil’s President. He defeated the far-right incumbent, Mr. Bolsonaro, in the tightest presidential elections in decades. He further wished Mr. Lula a successful third term and also looked forward to working with him to vitalize the India-Brazil strategic partnership.
Mr. Lula stated in a speech to the Lower House of Congress following the signing of the document formally establishing him as president that their message to Brazil is one of hope and reconstruction.