Lula on whistle-stop tour of the capital this week

Ex-president Lula on whistle-stop tour of the capital this week
Lula has his eyes on 2022. Photo: Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Brasília this afternoon for a series of meetings throughout the week. Among other commitments, Lula will sit down with fellow ex-President José Sarney and other heads of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB) party.

Last week, Jair Bolsonaro met with Mr. Sarney himself. According to The Brazilian Report‘s sources, the president asked whether the MDB’s Renan Calheiros — rapporteur of the Covid-19 hearings committee in the Senate — is in fact a close friend of Lula’s.

While being a close ally of Mr. Sarney, Mr. Calheiros will not take part in this week’s meetings to avoid any criticism regarding his fairness in charge of the pandemic inquiry. According to one source close to the MDB senator, Mr. Calheiros believes it is “not the right time to meet Lula or Mr. Bolsonaro.”

Also on Lula’s agenda this week are talks with lawmakers over potentially joining his Workers’ Party ahead of the 2022 election. However, the former president is hesitant to portray his trip as being electorally motivated.

As such, he will also hold meetings with members of Congress to discuss increasing coronavirus emergency aid payments to the original level of BRL 600 (USD 110), and he will sit down with representatives of the Russian, British, and German embassies to talk about Covid-19 vaccines.