Brazil: the return of democracy | Opinion

From Rio de Janeiro

The election of Lula da Silva closes a new period of rupture of democracy in Brazil, which began with the coup against Dilma Rousseff, carried out in 2016. A process that had also prevented Lula from being elected president of Brazil in 2018 (when he was the favorite to win in the first round).

Instead, Brazil has experienced de facto governments that have reintroduced the neoliberal model, with economic recession and unemployment, and authoritarianism instead of democracy. That period ends within the defeat of Jair Bolsonarowho has not managed to be re-elected.

The dictatorship

Brazil has had the longest military dictatorship in the Southern Cone (from 1964 to 1985, 21 years), then it has had democratically elected governments from 1990 to 2016, 26 years) and, again, a period of rupture of democracy (from 2016 to 2022, six years). And a five-year democratic transition period, from 1985 to 1990). In total, in 58 years, 27 years of rupture of democracy, with 26 of democratic continuity. Practically half the time in democracy, the other half not.

As of January 1, with the inauguration of Lula, Brazil restarts a new democratic period. Lula’s speech on Sunday night was a kind of inaugural speech.

While Bolsonaro, after 48 hours of absolute silence, as if he had already given up the rest of his term, has made a two-minute statement (sic). In his short message thanking him for the votes he received, he characterized the roadblocks as a reaction to the election results, but condemned the use of violence. Right away, he reaffirmed his ideological positions. No acknowledgment of his defeat, no reference to Lula.

The transition

Immediately, one of his ministers affirmed that they were ready for the transition procedure, which began this Thursday, with the president of the Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffman, on behalf of “President Lula”, according to his own words.

The Judiciary has considered these pronouncements as a recognition of the electoral results and the beginning of the transition to the new Government.

Lula has occupied, since Sunday night, all political spaces. She has received greetings from Bidenof Putinof Macron, Xi Jinpingamong other leaders. He had lunch on Monday with Albert Fernandez. He has been invited to a global climate meeting, by the president of Egypt, in November. Lopez Obrador He has invited him to another international event in Mexico, also in November. Lula has been invited to bring his vision of the world to the next meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos.

The two months from the election to his inauguration will be occupied by Lula, already as elected president. Bolsonaro, after the initial 48 hours of silence, will probably disappear from the Brazilian political scene.

internal supports

Parties that supported him are approaching Lula to negotiate terms of accession to the government, which will bring about the parliamentary majority that Lula needs. The first has been the Centrao. The main provincial governors have also approached to forge alliances with the Lula government, including those of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

Lula, in turn, travels to Bahia, the province that gave him the greatest support, as well as will hold a meeting with the governors of the northeast of Brazilthe only region in which Lula has triumphed (with 70 percent support).

After months of tension and anxiety, Brazilians are experiencing times of relief. It has been a long year for Brazilians who have lived between threats to democracy and the hope of Lula’s victory. The tight result has given rise to a post-election and post-Bolsonaro climate.

The legacy

It will not be easy to explain to the children and grandchildren of Brazilians how Bolsonaro has become president of Brazil. And how, in the confrontation between Bolsonaro and Lula, the latter has triumphed by less than 2 percent of the vote.

But the same experience of the election of Dilma, who had also won by a small margin, shows how quickly the page of the election is turned. She had started her government with 70 percent support. Lula will need that same kind of support, as Brazilians move from uncertainty to a climate of hope.

It is already announced that Lula’s inauguration will be a great event, of international projection, which may bring together Biden, Putin and Xi Jinping. Brazil is already fully experiencing the post-Bolsonaro climate and a political life fully led by Lula.

Brazil: the return of democracy | Opinion