Brasília, 2 January 2023 (TDI): Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil was inaugurated as President on Sunday, resuming the position he held from 2003 to 2010.

The 77-year-old won a third term after defeating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the closest presidential campaign in decades in October.

Lula led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, when his government profited from the raw materials boom and was able to lift millions of people out of poverty through major social programs.

Lula’s remarks during the oath ceremony

Lula swore to “keep, defend, and follow the constitution” as he took the oath of office in Congress in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

He claimed to have “rescued” 33 million people from famine and 100 million from poverty, roughly half of the country’s 215 million people.

Lula claimed he would restore Brazil from the “ruins” left by the previous government, without naming his predecessor, Bolsonaro.

“Out of these horrible ruins, I accept the task, together with the Brazilian people, of reconstructing the country and making it a nation of all and for all.” Lula reiterated.

Lula went on to deride Bolsonaro’s administration, claiming that his transition team defined the country’s public finances as “atrocious.”

He reproached Bolsonaro’s government for failing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed over 680,000 Brazilians.

He then assured supporters that Brazil does not need to deforest the Amazon jungle for agriculture. It has been a significant criticism of Bolsonaro’s presidency.

Lula argued that no other country can match it in terms of the resources required to become an environmental force.

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Following the ceremony, Lula went in an open-top Rolls-Royce to the Planalto Palace to receive the presidential sash in front of 30,000 Workers’ Party supporters.

Tens of thousands more people converged on the esplanade in Brasilia to celebrate his new term.

Security tensions

Security was increased throughout the capital following the tensest presidential election in a generation, which stoked fears of violence by Bolsonaro supporters.

Lula defeated Bolsonaro by a margin of less than 2%. The leader refused to acknowledge the loss and questioned the country’s computerized voting mechanism.

Some of Bolsonaro’s most ardent fans have even called for a military coup to keep the far-right leader in power.

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It is pertinent to note that corruption was pervasive during Lula’s prior periods. He was given a lengthy prison term for corruption and money laundering. The sentence was later reversed.