People in Brazil have high expectations from Lula: Expert

It has been a roller coaster ride for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Worker’s Party and a welcome change for Brazil. His journey from prison to the presidential palace is nothing but spectacular.

Big issues including the Amazon deforestation, food security, G20, racial division are among some of the major issues that starting January 2023, the new president will have to address.

Implications for domestic and international politics

“Lula’s comeback will have several implications for domestic and international politics. First, experts believe it halts the progress of far-right politics. The incumbent president Jair Bolsanaro earned the epithet of ‘mini-Trump’ for his reckless economic policies and disregard for vaccines and climate change. His policies were aimed at registering growth at any cost, even if that implied massive deforestation of the Amazon forest. Unfortunately, his radical neoliberal policies could ensure neither growth nor protect Brazil from hunger and poverty. He received widespread opprobrium from the international community for his irrational policies,” explains Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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In conversation with Financial Express Online, Prof Rajan says, “He campaigned on the progressive agenda of eradicating hunger, uniting the country and stopping the mindless deforestation of the Amazon. He has a sound track record of working hard on welfare programmes. Brazil has suffered immensely in the last few years due to the recession followed by the pandemic.

Hunger and unemployment are significant concerns demanding immediate attention. A country rich in agriculture and manufacturing cannot escape the moral responsibility of feeding its people. Brazil suffers from stark inequality and racial division. Lula has to push for an inclusive policy targeting the poor and underprivileged people. He promised a minimum support programme during his election campaign, and one expects that he would manage to get it passed in Congress.

Also Read: A view from Brazil: Democracy wins in the South American nation

It won’t be easy for Lula, given his narrow margin over the rival and the control of the right-wing parties in the parliament. Nonetheless, he is believed to be a gifted administrator with the ability to forge alliances even with his rivals. Therefore, people in Brazil have high expectations from Lula.”

Finally, “Lula’s win sends a positive signal to the international community. His promise to protect Amazon has received widespread support from environmentalists and other global leaders. Lula was one of the key persons involved in forming BRICS in 2009. At a time when Russia is involved in a war with Ukraine, one expects Lula to play a balancing role in tandem with other BRICS leaders. Lula’s comeback is not a good sign for the US, which worries the revival of left-wing politics, but the US was also not happy with Bolsanaro. Lula is unlikely to condemn Russia on Ukraine. His position would be akin to that of India, China and South Africa. Lula’s comeback will strengthen the significance of BRICS in international politics,” Prof Rajan opines.

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