The return of democracy in Brazil

Lula’s election closes a new period of rupture of democracy in Brazil. Photo: Reuters

Lula’s election closes a new period of rupture of democracy in Brazil, which began with the coup against Dilma, consummated in 2016. A process that has also prevented Lula from being elected president of Brazil in 2018 (for which was 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 with the defeat of Bolsonaro, who has not managed to be re-elected.

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, 6 years). And a period of democratic transition of 5 years, 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 already considered 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 2-minute statement (sic); in which he thanked the votes he has received, he has characterized the roadblocks as a reaction to the election results, but has condemned the use of violence. Right away, he reaffirmed his ideological positions. No acknowledgment of his defeat, no reference to Lula.

Immediately, one of his ministers affirmed that they were ready for the transition procedure, which will begin on the 3rd, with the president of the PT, Gleisi Hoffman, representing “President Lula”, in his own words.

The Judiciary has considered these pronouncements as 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 Biden, Putin, Macron, Ki Jinping, among other leaders. She had lunch on Monday with Alberto Fernández. He has been invited to go to a global climate meeting, by the president of Egypt, in November.

López Obrador has invited him to an 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.

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 Centrão. The main provincial governors have also opted for alliances with the Lula government, including those of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

Lula, in turn, travels to Bahia, a province that has given him the greatest support, as well as meeting with the governors of the northeast of Brazil, the only region in which Lula has triumphed (with 70%) of support.

After months of tension and anxiety, Brazilians are experiencing times of relief. It was 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-electoral and post-Bolsonaro climate.

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

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

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

See also:

Party in Brazil: Lula is president again

The return of democracy in Brazil