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Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva greets supporters at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Lula and the new Brazil: big plans, short honeymoon

Earlier this week, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva completed his return from the wilderness.

After 12 rocky years out of power – which included the impeachment of his hand-picked successor, jail time for a corruption conviction that was later overturned, and a narrow election win over his nemesis Jair Bolsonaro – the left-wing former union leader was inaugurated for the third time as Brazil’s president.

The last time Lula lived at the Dawn Palace in Brasilia, from 2003-2010, he oversaw a historic transformation of the country, lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty and putting Brazil on the map as an emerging leader of the new Global South. Small wonder that he left office with an approval rating of 80%. US President Barack Obama once called him “the most popular politician on earth.”

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A man walks past Brazilian presidential campaign materials showing candidates Lula and Bolsonaro in Brasilia.

REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Brazil smackdown: Lula vs. Bolsonaro, final round

It’s a presidential election between two bitter rivals, each with tens of millions of supporters who see the other as a threat to democracy itself. Sound familiar? It’s not the 2024 US election just yet. No, it’s this Sunday’s presidential smackdown – er, runoff – in Brazil.

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