The Big Comeback

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as the country’s president this week, marking a return to the office he first held two decades ago, following an intense presidential election against conservative incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the Washington Post reported.

This is the third time the aging leftist leader has held Brazil’s highest office, and whose inauguration comes amid a period of political divisions in the Latin American nation.

During the ceremony, Lula vowed to rebuild the country’s economy, tackle police brutality and save the Amazon rainforest. He also addressed the crowd by condemning his predecessor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it amounted to “genocide” and should “not stay unpunished.”

Bolsonaro did not attend the ceremony – marking a departure from tradition when the outgoing leader hands over the presidential sash to his successor.

Lula won the presidency in October in the closest presidential race in Brazilian history, three years after being released from prison on corruption allegations that were eventually dropped.

Even so, the election results caused many Bolsonaro supporters to hold demonstrations across the country and urge the military to intervene. In recent weeks, Brazilian authorities have also arrested some radical supporters for instigating violence and “anti-democratic acts.”

In a farewell speech, Bolsonaro said that his election loss was unfair, but criticized the violence and urged his supporters to “show we are different from the other side, that we respect the norms and the constitution.”

Meanwhile, Lula’s victory marks another comeback for leftist governments in Latin America, following recent victories over the political right in Colombia and Chile.

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