Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has taken the oath of office and secrecy as the new president of Brazil, returning to the job he held from 2003-2010.
Lula, who assumed office on Sunday, reached the country’s highest office for the third time.
The 77-year-old secured a third term after defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in October during the tightest presidential race in decades.
After being defeated, Bolsonaro left for America last Friday denying the election results.
The Senate president opened the ceremony by paying respects to Pelé and Pope Benedict with a minute of silence.
What did Lula promise during the inauguration?
Taking the oath of office in Congress in the capital Brasilia, Lula vowed to “maintain, defend and obey the constitution” and promised to “rescue” 33 million people from hunger and 100 million people from poverty — nearly half the country’s 215 million population.
Lula said he would rebuild Brazil from the “ruins” that he said the previous government had left, without mentioning his predecessor Bolsonaro by name.
“Out of these terrible ruins, together with the Brazilian people, I assume the responsibility for rebuilding the country and making it a nation of all and for all,” he added.
Lula took his criticism of Bolsonaro’s administration further, saying his transition team had described the country’s public finances as “atrocious.”
“They [the previous government] emptied the resources of the Health ministry. They dismantled Education, Culture, Science and Technology. They destroyed the protection of the environment. They left no resources for school meals, vaccination or public safety,” he said.
He also accused Bolsonaro’s government of committing “genocide” by failing to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic that killed more than 680,000 Brazilians.
He then told supporters that Brazil doesn’t need to deforest the Amazon rainforest for agriculture — a key criticism of Bolsonaro’s tenure.
Lula insisted that no other country can match it for the resources needed to become a great environmental power.