In Brazil, Lula takes his first difficult steps

The symbolic value was strong: On March 4, the Brazilian Senate announced it was reopening to the public. It took many weeks to refurbish the building, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and covered with a midnight blue drape after it was ransacked on January 8 by far-right rioters who supported Jair Bolsoanaro. This confirms the return to a semblance of normality in Brasilia.

The event coincides with the commemoration of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s first two months in power following his inauguration on January 1. At the head of a shaken country, the leftist president has maintained an intense agenda and benefited from a kind of sacred union, but he also aroused disappointment and early criticism.

The president first wanted to restore Brazil’s international image. The 77-year-old leader met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Brasilia. Lula has also made pledges to Washington and in February met with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, at the White House.

Read more Article réservé à nos abonnés Biden-Lula meeting: War in Ukraine high on the agenda

No ‘jolt’ of confidence

On the domestic scene, the former metalworker put all his energy into rebuilding the social programs that his predecessor scrapped. “From now on, the gigantic wheel of Brazil will turn!” he said on February 14, during the relaunch of the social housing program “My House My Life.” The goal is to build two million homes by 2026.

At the same time, the minimum wage increased by 1.3%. Households receiving the well-known “Bolsa Familia” (an allowance dependent on certain educational obligations) will now receive an additional 150 reais (€27) per child under 6 years of age. At the end of February, the government also reinstated the National Council for Food Security, which is essential to the fight against hunger but had been abolished by Jair Bolsonaro.

Read more Article réservé à nos abonnés “Reducing social inequality in Brazil would appear to be essential for strengthening democracy and weakening extremism”

We are interested in your experience using the site.

Fighting against racism, femicide, firearms or in favor of vaccination… the current government wants to distinguish itself in every way from the previous one. “It is a time for unity and reconstruction. This country was destroyed by fascist barbarians. It will take time to get results, but we will succeed. Lula is a father of victory,” insisted Bohn Gass, an MP of the Workers Party who is close to the president.

Despite the facade of enthusiasm, the first doubts have already emerged. Far from being unanimous, according to polls, the Lula government is enjoying only 40% favorable opinion. The much hoped-for “jolt” of confidence has not taken place: gross domestic product fell by 0.2% in the last quarter of 2022. For the current year, the outlook is gloomy, with a 1.2% growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund.

You have 55.95% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.

Source link