Brazil: Lula is officially sworn in as president of the country for the third time, 12 years after his departure

At 77, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was proclaimed head of the country of 215 million inhabitants, 12 years after leaving power after two terms (2003-2010).Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva waves to the crowd en route to Congress for his swearing-in ceremony, January 1, 2023. (AFP)

Back in power 12 years later. The icon of the Brazilian left, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, becomes president of Brazil again, Sunday January 1, during an investiture in Brasilia snubbed by the outgoing head of state, Jair Bolsonaro. The ceremony is framed by an important security device in the face of the threat posed by the far right.

The Brazilian head of state pledged “to rebuild the country, with the Brazilian people” in a firm speech on Sunday before Congress, after his enthronement, evoking the “disastrous” record of Jair Bolsonaro. “We will be able to live without cutting down trees, without burning” forests, continued Lula, recalling his objective of “zero deforestation in the Amazon”, while the international community expects strong gestures from him after the large-scale deforestation under the mandate of his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

At the age of 77, Lula was again proclaimed president of the first power in Latin America after his two terms from 2003 to 2010. His return to the Planalto Palace marks an exceptional comeback for Lula, who experienced prison there only four years after being charged with corruption. A minute of silence was observed in Congress in tribute to Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who died of cancer on Thursday, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday, just before the enthronement of Lula and his vice president. from right, Geraldo Alckmin.

Thousands of Lula supporters under a blazing sun

Tens of thousands of Lula supporters dressed in red had invaded the center of Brasilia at midday on Sunday, a few hours before the historic leader of the left was invested for the third time. Under the blazing sun of this early southern summer, they had to wait in queues of hundreds of meters because of security checks, noted an AFP journalist.

Supporters of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gather to attend his inauguration in front of the Panalto Palace in Brasilia (Brazil), on January 1, 2023. (AFP)

While the most radical followers of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro want to prevent Lula’s accession to power and are still camped outside barracks in various cities, demanding military intervention, security has been tightened. All the police forces of the district of Brasilia (some 8,000 agents) are mobilized, as well as a thousand federal police officers.

Among the fifty foreign delegations present include the King of Spain and 17 heads of state, including the presidents of Germany, Portugal and several Latin American countries such as Argentina. The United States sent the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, and China its Vice President, Wang Qishan. France is represented by Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade.