(CNN) – Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president for a third term on Sunday, amid threats of violence from supporters of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.
“I promise to preserve, defend and respect the constitution, obey the laws, promote the general good of the Brazilian people, support the unity, integrity and independence of Brazil,” Lula said.
The 76-year-old politician, returning to the presidency after a 12-year hiatus, arrived with his wife, Rosangela da Silva, at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia at 12:20 pm local time, before heading to congress where the an official session of the congress took place.
The parliamentarians applauded Lula before singing “ole, ole ola, Lula, Lula”.
The President of the Senate opened the ceremony by paying tribute to Pelé and Pope Benedict XVI during a minute of silence.
During the ceremony, Lula broke with traditional protocol to talk about the pen he used to sign congressional documents.
“In 1989 I was at a rally in Piaui, then we walked to the church of San Benedict, and a citizen gave me this pen and asked me to use it to sign if I won the election in 89 .I didn’t win the election in 89, I didn’t win in 94, I didn’t win in 98. In 2002 I won, but when I got here I forgot the pen and signed with the senator’s pen. In 2006 I signed with the pen of the Senate, and now I have found the pen, and I am doing this in honor of the people of Piaui state,” he said.
The newly sworn-in president and first lady then traveled in a parade of open cars to attend a military awards ceremony outside the presidential palace.
Hovering over the ceremony was the conspicuous absence of Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for Florida on Friday and has not specified a date for his return.
His trip to the United States broke with the Brazilian convention that outgoing leaders attend the inauguration ceremony of their successors. It comes as the Brazilian government issued an order on Friday allowing five officials to accompany “future ex-president” Bolsonaro to Miami, Florida, between January 1 and January 30, 2023.
Lula won a tight runoff on October 30, in a stunning comeback that marked the left’s return to power in Brazil after four years of Bolsonaro’s far-right administration.
Lula achieved a remarkable return to power after a series of corruption allegations led to his 580-day jail term. The Supreme Court later declared the suit a mistrial, clearing the way for him to run for re-election.
After ruling Brazil for two consecutive terms between 2003 and 2010, Lula will inherit a country with crippling debt and a higher poverty rate than when he left office.
Former Bolsonaro Vice President Hamilton Mourao addressed the nation in a nationally televised speech on Saturday on the last day of his government and criticized leaders whose silence had created “an atmosphere of chaos”.
“The leaders who need to reassure and unite the country around a project for the country have allowed this silence to create an atmosphere of chaos and division in society,” Mourao said, adding that the armed strength has to pay the bill. Since the election results, Bolsonaro has spoken to the public only three times. He did not accept the election results in these addresses, encouraging his radical base to believe that the result could be overturned.
The president promised to rebuild the country
Lula promised to rebuild the country, after thanking the “vow of trust given by the Brazilian people” in a speech to Congress.
“Today our message to Brazil is hope and reconstruction,” Lula said. “If we are here today, it is thanks to the political awareness of Brazilian society and the democratic coalition that we built during the campaign.”
Lula said democracy was the biggest winner in Brazil’s election after his campaign overcame a series of obstacles.
“In spite of everything, the decision of the ballot box prevails, thanks to an electoral system recognized worldwide for its efficiency. This is mainly the courageous attitude of the judiciary, mainly the Supreme Court on Elections,” continued said Lula.
Lula continued his speech by criticizing Bolsonaro’s government, accusing the former president of using Brazil’s resources to further increase his power.
“The diagnosis we received from the migration office is terrible. They have exhausted resources for health, dismantled education, culture, science, they have destroyed environmental protections, leaving no resources for school lunches , vaccines, public safety, forest protection and social assistance,” said Lula.
Threats of violence
Violence has gripped the country, where Bolsonaro has yet to clearly acknowledge electoral defeat, despite his administration saying it is cooperating with the transition of power.
The security presence during Lula’s inauguration was high, as about 8,000 security officers from multiple security forces were mobilized on Sunday, according to the Federal District’s security department.
Earlier on Sunday, a man was arrested in Brasilia after he was caught trying to enter the inauguration party with a knife and fireworks, the Federal District State Police said in a statement. The suspect is from Rio de Janeiro.
A Brazilian Supreme Court judge on Wednesday ordered a four-day ban on firearms in the capital that will last until the end of Sunday, as a precaution ahead of the ceremony.
It will not apply to active members of the armed forces, police officers and private security agents, Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote.
Lula da Silva’s team called for a gun ban on the inauguration day after police arrested a man suspected of planting and possessing explosives at Brasilia International Airport.
The suspect, identified as 54-year-old George Washington de Oliveira Sousa gas station manager, is a Bolsonaro supporter and told police in a statement, seen by CNN, that he intended to “create chaos” to stop Lula in office. again in January.
The ban on Moraes began when thousands of Bolsonaro supporters gathered at military barracks across the country to protest the election results, calling on the military to intervene as they claimed, without any proof, that the election was stolen.
Bolsonaro condemned Sousa’s bombing attempt on Friday, saying there was “no justification” for a “terrorist act”.
“Brazil will not end on January 1, you can be sure of that,” the incumbent president said in reference to Lula’s inauguration date.
“Now we have a mass of people who know more about politics,” he added. “They understand that they are in danger. It’s good to win. We have leaders all over Brazil. New politicians or re-elected politicians, they will make the difference.
A U-turn in deforestation policy
Lula praised Brazil’s natural resources and promised to reverse his predecessor’s deforestation policy in the Amazon while seeking to maximize the country’s potential.
“No other country has the conditions that Brazil should be an environmental power. Starting with creativity, bioeconomy and socio-biodiversity enterprise, we will start the energy and ecological transition towards sustainable activities in agriculture and mining, family farming and green industry. Our goal is zero deforestation in the Amazon, zero greenhouse gas emissions,” Lula said in his speech to Congress.
“We will not tolerate (…) the destruction of the environment and the destruction of the forest which has greatly harmed the country. This is one of the reasons, but not the only one, for the creation of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples,” continued Lula.
Brazil’s new president has promised to address the inequality inflicted on minorities in the country by creating a “Ministry for the Promotion of Racial Equality to extend the policy of affirmative action in universities and civil services, as well as the continuation of policies for black and brown in the field of health, education and culture.
The-CNN-Wire & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Join our newsletter for the latest news straight to your inbox