Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promises to rebuild and transform Brazil after what he calls the disastrous administration of Jair Bolsonaro.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has officially launched his campaign for the presidential election, promising to ‘rebuild’ the Latin American nation after what he called the disastrous administration of far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro .
“We are ready to work not only to win the October 2 elections, but to rebuild and transform Brazil, which will be even more difficult,” the 76-year-old left-wing icon said Saturday at a rally in Sao Paolo. , formalizing his political return four years after being imprisoned on controversial corruption charges.
The 76-year-old left office in 2010 as the most popular president in Brazilian history, after presiding over an economic boom that lifted some 30 million Brazilians out of poverty.
While the campaign will kick off in August, the left-wing icon has been campaigning unofficially since March 2021, when a court overturned corruption convictions that barred him from politics.
“Politics lives in every cell of my body, because I have a cause,” he said two days after the judgment. “In the 12 years since I left office, I see that all the policies I created to benefit the poor have been destroyed.”
A sweeping investigation dubbed “Operation Car Wash” that began in 2014 uncovered a massive corruption scheme centered on state oil company Petrobras. Lula was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison.
The holder has closed the gap
He began his sentence in April 2018 and was dropped from that year’s presidential race, which Bolsonaro won on a wave of outrage against Lula and his Workers’ Party (PT).
The Supreme Court later found the lead judge in the case, Sergio Moro, who became Bolsonaro’s justice minister, to be biased.
Lula called the case a conspiracy. He was released pending an appeal in November 2019 but was barred from politics until last year’s decision.
Since regaining frontrunner status, Lula has committed a series of recent gaffes, alienating voters from several key groups with remarks about abortion, the police and the middle class.
He also looked out of step with world leaders by saying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “as responsible as” his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine.
Bolsonaro, 67, has made it clear he will not leave power without a fight. While at one point Lula looked set to beat Bolsonaro in the first round of voting on October 2, without needing a second round on October 30, the president has closed the gap in the latest polls.
Political analyst Gustavo Ribeiro says Bolsonaro will do everything in his power to catch up with Lula in the polls.
“He will try to use his massive social media presence to make the waters murkier to regain ground, especially for the voters he lost in his three-and-a-half-year presidency,” Ribeiro said, the founder of The Brazilian Report, an online magazine. .
“Many Brazilians get their news from social media – it’s the terrain Bolsonaro dominates – where the left has lost its footing and struggled to find language and messages that resonate with people and engage voters.”