The victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the Brazilian elections on October 30 was immediately recognized by the leaders of the world’s largest nations, except for Brazil’s own acting president, the first in the country to fail in his attempt to re-election. While Jair Messias Bolsonaro kept silent about his defeat, Norway and Germany hastened to announce that they will resume their investments in the Amazon rainforest conservation fund, interrupted since the determination of the current Brazilian government to promote the acceleration of deforestation became clear.
Lula will take office on January 1, 2023, but has already accepted the invitation to attend the UN conference on climate change, COP27, scheduled for this month in Egypt. It will be a return to the world of the humanistic face of Brazil, marked in the last four years by official negationist and xenophobic positions against any type of understanding considered “globalist” in the most diverse areas: culture, environment, health, development and promotion of peace.
Lula appointed the elected vice president, Geraldo Alckmin, to coordinate the transition team, provided for by law since 2002, when President Fernando Henrique Cardoso established that mechanism to support the democratic alternation in power every time different political groups are replaced. Twenty years ago, Alckmin was linked to Cardoso’s group, which first passed the baton to Lula, who would defeat Alckmin himself by being re-elected in 2006. The 2022 victory establishes Lula as the first Brazilian to be elected president for the third time. time, now leading a democratic front that includes Alckmin since the launch of his candidacy, and that in the second round attracted a wide range of former opponents, including Cardoso.
However, much work will be required to overcome the internal division of the country. Amid a record 118.6 million valid votes, the second round was the closest in Brazil’s history: 50.9% against 49.1%. The difference between winner and loser was 2.1 million votes, which seems little considering the discrepancy between the objective results obtained by the efforts of both candidates. At the same time, it was a major victory in the face of unprecedented abuse of federal institutions to try to re-elect the sitting president.
The night his victory was announced, Lula delivered a unity speech: “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people.” On his side, Bolsonaro withdrew into a corner and, without being seen or heard in public, informed his ministers that he was going to sleep, denying a common and important rite in democracies: the public acknowledgment of defeat. .
Just two days later, Bolsonaro appeared before the press to read a very brief statement, promising respect for the Constitution, but without mentioning the electoral result yet. It fell to his chief cabinet minister to announce, immediately after the president’s departure, that he had been authorized by Bolsonaro to begin the transition from government to “President Lula,” words that the defeated man avoided saying in public. Of the 14 sentences read by Bolsonaro, it is worth highlighting the last one, which, unlike Lula’s speech, persisted in the division between two Brazils: “It is an honor to be the leader of millions of Brazilians who, like me, defend economic freedom , religious freedom, freedom of opinion, honesty and the green and yellow colors of our flag”.
Green and yellow were the colors worn, even at that time, by the most extreme Bolsonaro voters who participated in the coup protests against the electoral result, a movement that has been withering day by day until the time of writing this article. Meanwhile, the migration of leaders accustomed to power accelerated, moving away from Bolsonaro’s orbit to return to Lula’s. For example, the leader of an evangelical church with numerous followers who had associated Lula’s party with the devil, did not take 48 hours to declare that, according to his interpretation of the Bible, the duty of any evangelical was to pray for Lula, something that was already being done during his services.
At the base of Brazilian society, it is important to attract, as far as possible, respect for the rules of the democratic game – and humanism, in many cases – the non-extremist part of the voters who preferred Bolsonaro over of Lula. At the same time, it will be necessary to recover the institutions that Bolsonaro cut to punish those who, under the protection of the government, committed various crimes, especially against the democratic order.
If until the elections the president fought to stay in power, even if to do so he had to corrupt legislators from his support base, trample on the rules and neglect the constitutional norms, Bolsonaro’s silent coup has a new objective: to get rid of the numerous lawsuits involving the president himself, his family and his allies. This is what is currently at stake.
Many situations involving Bolsonaro, his sons and allies will still come up, and that is what worries him at the moment. He persists in his veiled support for the coup with the sole concern of negotiating everything possible so that he is granted amnesty and pardon. Just as the legitimacy of the polls was reinforced on November 30, it is important that society redouble its majority support for the democratic rule of law. One of the ways to do this is to demand that those who committed crimes be tried and punished by law.