Sao Paulo, Brazil
Hostile mood at a camp outside the military barracks in Brazil’s most populous city of Sao Paulo, where the Brazilian national anthem played and dozens of supporters of the President Jair Bolsonaro factories around. They hung placards that read: “SOS Armed Forces,” “military intervention with Bolsonaro in power” and “save us from communism.”
“Bolsonaro (draws) a lot of crowds to his (campaign) events. Then the other guy came and won the election? How can this be? It’s absurd! It’s cheating – it’s proven,” an elderly fan, wearing jeans and a black shirt, told CNN. They, like other Bolsonaro supporters interviewed by CNN, declined to give names or be photographed.
Almost two months since former leftist leader Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was elected as Brazil’s next president – reviving hopes that the country will restore environmental protections and witness a less divided political landscape – the anger of Bolsonaro’s most ardent fans has not abated.
Although Bolsonaro’s administration says it is cooperating with the transition, the far-right incumbent himself has not explicitly acknowledged his loss of the October 30 election. In contrast, thousands of his supporters gathered at army barracks around the country, demanding that the troops step in when they claimed, without proof, that the election had been stolen.
This is the bitter backdrop that Lula da Silva will inherit in her inauguration on January 1. With the smallest mandate – winning only 50.9% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro’s 49.1% – Lula da Silva as president can’t fault a deeply divided Brazil.
“For those loyal to his team, Lula is a god-like figure, and for many others, Lula will need to do her best to win them back,” said Ryan Berg, director of Chau. US at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told CNN.
“I think a significant portion of the people are not really winable – so any sign of weakness, any sign of a lack of economic growth or tax increases or whatever ( Lula da Silva) decide to do – they can be aggressive, and it will happen. bumpier than when he was president before,” he added.
Violence broke out in other parts of the country before his inauguration. On December 13, protesters clashed with police in the capital Brasilia as they tried to break into a federal police building following the arrest of an outspoken Bolsonaro supporter.
While Bolsonaro did not urge his followers to oppose the election results, the former paratrooper did little to stop them from calling for a military coup. Last Friday, he explained that his 40-day silence following the election defeat had “hurt my soul” and vaguely added that Brazil’s armed forces ” is the ultimate obstacle to socialism…and responsible for our freedom.”
For many ‘Bolsonaristas’, the current president represents a muscular worldview, “Brazil First”, in a region where foreign powers often intervene. He appealed to social conservatives, spoke out against abortion and LGBTQ rights, and proclaimed pro-business, even though his administration has also spent billions of dollars supporting poor Brazilians. during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
Progressive Lula da Silva, a former union leader, will face a high-profile battle to convince them he too can be their president — and to shed light on allegations of corruption and laundering His 2017 money, was canceled by the Supreme Court of Brazil in 2021.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s political allies have vowed to punch holes in Lula’s agenda. “We will be a fierce opposition,” Senator Eduardo Girão, of the center-right Podemos party, told CNN. Girão shares the same ideological agenda as Bolsonaro: both men call themselves Christians, “pro-family,” anti-abortion, and opposed to the legalization of drugs.
Lula’s coalition lacks a majority in Congress. However, concerns that the legislature might hold executive hostages have yet to be materialized.
A change to the 2023 budget requested by Lula da Silva’s allies was approved by a majority of senators on December 7, with only 16 other senators – including Girão – voting. against. A constitutional amendment to increase government spending next year will help fund social payments to poor families. It will be voted in House of Commons on Tuesday.
“I was surprised. There is a drastic change in the position of senators from the center – they switch sides very quickly. They seem to lack ideology and cohesion,” Girão admits.
That could change, however, when newly elected congressmen and senators begin their terms next year, said Bruna Santos, senior adviser at the Wilson Institute’s Brazil Center.
The incoming president will inherit a country whose many public institutions have been weakened during Bolsonaro’s tenure, such as environmental agencies. Brazil’s already struggling health system has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving the country with one of the worst records in the outbreak. Bolsonaro is downplayed virus gravity.
And university budget cuts have piled pressure on Brazil’s already faltering education sector, where Brazilian teenagers rank lower than younger generations. OECD average in reading, math, and science.
Writing on Twitter on Wednesday, Lula da Silva said previous government has “destroyed a lot of things.” He added that once in power “we will invest in education, in SUS (Global Health System), to continue Minha Casa Minha Vida (Low Income Community Housing Support Project). Things that are really important to people.”
Over the past week, the president-elect has announced key allies in key cabinet positions, giving Brazilian watchers an indication of what his legislative agenda might look like. , because Lula da Silva disclosed the details during the campaign.
Former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad was announced as the upcoming finance minister, Rui Costa as Lula da Silva’s chief of staff and Mauro Vieira as foreign minister.
Santos hopes “Lula da Silva’s first 100 days will focus on tax reform”, pointing to Haddad’s appointment of Bernard Appy as special secretary tax reformwho was “not only a highly respected economist, but also a connoisseur of the legislative process.”
She suggested that the incoming president could also seek to regulate the internet in a similar way to the European Union. “The main focus is on regulating platforms, social media and messaging, in the fight against fake news,” adding that Supreme Court and the electoral court supported Lula to act quickly. Her worry is that Brazil, “as a country in the developing world, cannot create bottlenecks for technological progress”.
But Lula assumed the presidency under very different circumstances than his previous two terms from 2003 to 2010. Growth has been sluggish in recent years with exports forecast. do slowly in 2023. Without the commodity boom that helped fund his policies, Lula da Silva could have trouble implementing planned reforms and social spending commitments.
If the enactment of domestic reforms is difficult, “Lula 3.0 could have a heavy impact on foreign policy” as a way of polishing his credibility, Berg said.
Most recently during his presidency, Lula became known as a major international statesman, pushing for reforms of global institutions like the World Bank and IMF, or demanding Brazil a seat on the Security Council. United Nations security.
“These are the things that make Brazil a country that is rated very positively in many parts of the world,” Berg said.
However, some of Lula’s comments have raised eyebrows in the West. in May, the president is elected told TIME magazine that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is equally responsible for Russia’s invasion of his country as Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Analysts say that Bazil’s political opposition will likely work to maintain the mobilization of Bolsonaro supporters, exploiting the political anger surrounding the outgoing president.
Anger remains high at the camp in Sao Paulo when it became clear that the military did not listen to their pleas. Immediately after the election, the Supreme Court ordered the police to investigate the people who financed the dozens of pro-Bolsonaro plantations that sprung up across the country.
The trawl seems to be closing in on them, but protesters who CNN spoke to remain hopeful that Lula da Silva will not take office.
One protester told CNN that her sons disapproved of her joining the protest. “To save my family, I have to save the country. They are young, they think differently. They’ll thank me later,” she told CNN of her sons, whom she hasn’t seen since entering the camp more than a month ago.
Their movement will not end even if Lula da Silva is inaugurated, said a Bolsonaro supporter beside her. “We will be right there against him,” he said.