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Leftist Lula Sworn in as Brazil’s President

National

| Image by Ueslei Marcelimo/REUTERS

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva officially became president of Brazil Sunday after defeating former president Jair Bolsonaro in an October runoff election.

This is the third time Lula — the leader of the left-wing Workers’ Party — has been elected president. In his opening address, he spoke in an optimistic tone to his country’s legislature after signing the documents necessary to codify his presidency.

“Our message to Brazil is one of hope and reconstruction,” Lula claimed, per CBS. “The great edifice of rights, sovereignty and development that this nation built has been systematically demolished in recent years. To re-erect this edifice, we are going to direct all our efforts.”

Bolsonaro was not present at the inauguration, breaking with the usual tradition of presenting the new president with the presidential sash at the presidential palace. Instead, a diverse group of people representing various constituencies of Brazilian society presented Lula with the sash.

Brazil has reportedly become increasingly more politically polarized, with former president Bolsonaro questioning the efficacy of the country’s electronic voting system.

Some Bolsonaro supporters have been gathering outside military barracks, asking the military to get involved and stop Lula from assuming power.

Without mentioning his predecessor’s name, Lula appeared to promise to go after those he perceived to have broken the law in positions of authority.

“We do not carry any spirit of revenge against those who sought to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological designs, but we are going to ensure the rule of law,” Lula said. “Those who erred will answer for their errors, with broad rights to their defense within the due legal process.”

Lula himself was subject to a corruption investigation that led him and others in the Workers’ Party to be jailed. Because of this, some Brazilians reportedly believe he should not be president.

However, Lula’s conviction was in part annulled because the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that the judge in the case colluded with prosecutors.

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