Brazil: Lula lays the groundwork for his 3rd term

Lhe President-elect of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, began on Monday to define the contours of his future government, for a third term which promises to be full of challenges in a deeply divided country.

Less than two months before his inauguration, on January 1, the icon of the left began the week with a first meeting with his team in charge of the transition until the transfer of power.

Elected on October 30 by a short head against far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, Lula, 77, handed over the heating blue after having granted a few days of rest in Bahia (north-east) with the future First lady, Rosangela da Silva, after an exhausting campaign.

On Tuesday, the elected president must go to Brasilia, several sources told AFP.

In the Brazilian capital, he must notably meet the very influential Artur Lira, president of the Chamber of Deputies.

The latter was a close ally of Jair Bolsonaro during his term, but he did not fail to congratulate Lula on his victory shortly after the announcement of the result.

The outgoing president, he had walled himself in a silence of almost 48 hours, before acknowledging his defeat in half a word.

Intense negotiations

The support of Congress will be fundamental for one of the first major challenges of the future leftist government: to approve exceptional expenditure for the payment of social minima.

Lula has notably pledged to maintain the Auxilio Brasil, an allowance paid to the poorest, at 600 reais (around 118 euros), even if this amount is not provided for in next year’s budget.

“We cannot start 2023 without the Auxilio Brasil (at 600 reais), without a real increase in the minimum wage. These are promises made to voters and the ballot box has spoken,” said Gleisi Hoffmann, president of the Workers’ Party, on Friday. (PT) by Lula.

Intense negotiations are already underway: to ensure payments, the authorization to exceed the spending ceiling must be approved by parliamentarians before December 15.

This will not be an easy task, in a Congress where Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) is the best represented of the two chambers.

Lula should nevertheless be able to deal with the “Centrao”, a nebula of centrist parties which have been raining and shining in Parliament for decades, most often allying with the government in place, not without cashing in on their support for important posts. .

Several leaders of these parties who had allied themselves with the Bolsonaro government have shown themselves open to dialogue with the elected president on the left.

“Budgetary responsibility

During his campaign, Lula surfed on the nostalgia of the golden years of his first two terms (2003-2010), without detailing how he intends to govern Brazil for the next four years.

He will face the same challenges as other left-wing leaders who recently came to power in Latin America, explains political scientist Leandro Consentino, professor at Insper in Sao Paulo.

That is to say, “how to articulate budgetary rigor with an expected left-wing social agenda”, in a context of inflation, high unemployment and a possible recession.

The economic situation is far from being as favorable as during the 2000s, when Lula was able to carry out ambitious social programs thanks to the boom in raw materials.

Lula has pledged to reconcile “budgetary, social responsibility and sustainable development”, but the business community is firmly awaiting his first announcements, in particular the names of the economic team of the future government.

– International premiere at COP27-

Lula will not wait for his inauguration to give the international community pledges of his commitment to the fight against deforestation in the Amazon.

He is due to go to COP27 next week in Sharm el-Sheikh, at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“The climate issue is a top strategic priority,” Marina Silva, former environment minister, who will accompany Lula to Egypt, told the daily Folha de S. Paulo.

She is expected to take over this ministry, after four years of Bolsonaro government marked by a sharp increase in deforestation and fires in the largest rainforest on the planet.

The preservation of the Amazon will be fundamental “for Brazil to recover its credibility with the international community”, estimates André César, analyst of the consultancy firm Hold.

07/11/2022 16:30:52 – Sao Paulo (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

Brazil: Lula lays the groundwork for his 3rd term