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Lula sworn in as Brazil’s president

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BRASILIA, BRAZIL: - Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva waves to supporters on the day of his swearing-in ceremony in Brasilia, Brazil on January 1, 2023. (Mateus Bonomi - Anadolu Agency)
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Jan 02, 2023 - 02:47 AM

BUENOS AIRES (AA) – Brazilian politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been sworn in for a third term as Brazil’s president in the capital Brasilia.

Lula arrived at the Sunday’s ceremony in a presidential Rolls Royce, closely flanked by security officers, alongside the Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin.

“I promise to maintain, defend and fulfill the Constitution, observe the laws, promote the general good of the Brazilian people, uphold the unity, integrity and independence of Brazil,” said Lula in a lengthy speech.

Lula thanked the Brazilian people for the confidence that they had shown by voting him in for a third term.

He also underscored the role of democracy and described the “violent threats,” “lies” and “hatred” he said that it had faced, adding “despite everything, the decision of the polls prevailed.”

He also highlighted the importance to Brazil’s electoral system in the country.

“Ole ole ola Lula” chanted a number of officials as they celebrated his victory in between parts of his speech.

Lula also touched on the role of Petrobras, the state-owned Brazilian oil and gas company, and the need to boost small and mid-size businesses in the country.

On environmental policy, Lula highlighted the importance of the green energy transition, underscoring the importance of slashing gas emissions, achieving zero deforestation in the Amazon, reusing abandoned lands and the Indigenous ministry following the “injustices committed against Indigenous peoples”.

He also discussed Brazil’s own production model, suggesting it had the “technical capacity” to focus on its own production of goods.

Lula also underlined his “commitment” to ensure all Brazilians can eat three meals a day, suggesting it was the result of “the devastation that has imposed on the country in recent years,” without referring to Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency.

The new leader also pushed for dialogue among the government and labor union to approve new labor legislation.

Prior to the ceremony, officials paid tribute to the country’s football icon Pele who passed away this week. In addition, police detained a man with a knife and fireworks attempting to enter Lula’s inauguration.

Former President Jair Bolsonaro did not attend.

However, 19 foreign leaders and other dignitaries including Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attended the ceremony.

On Oct. 30, Lula beat Bolsonaro in a tight race, garnering 50.9% of the vote compared with Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, according to Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court.

Lula had been a candidate during the 2018 presidential election until graft and money laundering convictions curtailed his political aspirations. He was sent to prison and Bolsonaro won the presidency.

In 2019, Lula was released from prison after his convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing him to run again for office.

Lula was an influential figure during the “pink tide” era — a period where many Latin American countries turned to the left.

The former union leader’s political rise to presidency marks a new wave of regional leftist leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Peru.

However, experts warn that with both chambers of the legislature now having a strong conservative presence, Lula will likely face challenges to his presidency.

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