Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is officially back, despite never really leaving Brazil’s political center stage. But now, 11 years after leaving the presidency, the center-left icon has formally launched his bid to lead the country once more. Just like 20 years ago, when he first won the top job after three failed attempts, Lula officially enters the race as the frontrunner.
But the challenges he will face to win an unprecedented third term are far greater this time around.
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- Mario Sergio Lima is a senior Brazil analyst for consultancy firm Medley Advisors. He has worked for various newsrooms such as Bloomberg, Folha de S.Paulo, and Agência Estado.
- Trumpeting a centrist message and his legacy, Lula officially launched his presidential bid on Saturday. “We did a lot, but it is possible to do a lot more,” he announced, as he promised to strengthen environmental and education policies, invest in healthcare, and find solutions for the economy.
- Despite being on opposite sides of the Brazilian political dichotomy pre-2018 — and directly competing against one another in 2006 — Lula and conservative ex-São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin have teamed up to try and topple President Bolsonaro.
- Many have tried to portray Lula and Jair Bolsonaro as two sides of the same coin. But Lula has a track record of respecting democracy — which the current president lacks, write columnist Beatriz Rey and editor-in-chief Gustavo Ribeiro in an op-ed.
- Lula went from poverty, to the presidency, to prison … now back to the presidency?
- Investors are frightened by Lula. But is this fear warranted? In 2018, we showed that there is little for Big Capital to be afraid of. Still, major business owners want a constitutional hedge against the center-left politician.
- Lula aims to focus his campaign on economics. Inflation is rampant and Brazilians are paying far more for a tank of gas than elsewhere. And this will likely hurt President Bolsonaro’s re-election prospects.
- But despite trailing in the polls, President Bolsonaro thinks he will win.
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