How will President Lula navigate his affinity for Russia?
By David Monyae
Jan 8, 2023
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, was inaugurated as the 39th president of Brazil on January 1 following his election victory in October 2022. Lula defeated the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro whose right-wing leanings inspired a massive mobilisation of Brazil’s leftist constituency which propelled Lula to his third term as president. A lot has been said about the implications of Lula’s presidency on the global geopolitical landscape and not least on the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping.
Brazil is the 12th biggest economy in the world boasting a GDP of $1.44 trillion (R25trln) and a market of over 200 million people. These numbers mean that the country’s policy direction under the new president will have significant implications on a global scale and most certainly will add a new dimension to the BRICS bloc. Lula is one of the founders of the bloc, having been president when it was launched in 2009. As such, it is fair to say that BRICS is his baby. The BRICS agenda of bringing into existence an alternative global order which is responsive to and accommodates the interests of the developing world dovetails with Lula’s socialist political and economic outlook.
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Lula: Zelenskiy, Biden Share Blame for War on Ukraine
By Ciara Nugent
Brazil May 4, 2022
Read this story in Portuguese
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s return to frontline politics was a bombshell for Brazil. In April 2021, the Brazilian Supreme Court annulled a series of corruption convictions that had excluded the leftist former President from national elections in 2018, saying a biased judge on his case had compromised his right to a fair trial. The decision set Brazil on course for a showdown between Lula—as he is universally known—and current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in the October 2022 elections.
Lula, who officially launches his campaign on May 7, promises to bring Brazil back to the good old days of his 2003-2010 presidency, which he wrapped with an 83% approval rating. That would mean reviving an ailing economy, saving a threatened democracy, and healing a nation scarred by the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll and two years of chaotic pandemic mismanagement. So far, his promises are resonating: Lula is polling at 45% compared to Bolsonaro’s 31%. But the gap is narrowing.
TIME staff writer Ciara Nugent sat down with Lula in late March, in the São Paulo headquarters of his Workers’ Party (PT), to speak about his time in prison, the war in Ukraine, and whether his plans for the country are based on more than nostalgia. This transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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