- Last year, Lula Da Silva’s corruption charge was overturned due to a procedural discrepancy.
- The former president has re-entered the race for Brazil’s presidency spot and Lula Da Silva is the current favourite.
- His potential reelection faces some obstacles, as opponent Bolsonaro urges his supporters to reject Da Silva’s leadership.
Why is Lula Da Silva’s heat level Hot?
Answer: Lula Da Silva has become the favourite candidate for the upcoming presidential elections after his corruption charges were dropped.
In July of 2016, Lula Da Silva was charged with cases of corruption and money laundering. Sergio Moro was the judge of his trial and he was appointed as the Minister of Justice and Public Security by Bolsonaro after Lula’s case. The final outcome of the case found Lula to be guilty and convicted him to nine years and a half in prison.
In late 2019, however, Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court released Lula from prison due to his pending appeals, only to drop his charges entirely in March last year. This sudden turn of events took place as his case was not tried impartially. Although an investigation could be relaunched (as Lula’s case was not dropped for a flawed decision but rather a flawed legal procedure), the situation has become overly political and the former president could simply appeal the decisions for long enough until the results of the upcoming presidential elections.
Given that Lula Da Silva’s charges have been overturned, he has regained his political ability and once again has the right to run for presidency. Brazil’s ‘Ficha Limpa’ (‘Clean Slate’) Law prevents any individuals with a criminal record to be politically-involved, which is why Da Silva had essentially been at a ‘freezing’ heat level in the couple of years preceding the overturn of his charges.
Simultaneously, Bolsonaro’s presidency has been filled with controversy and has been frowned upon by the majority of Brazil’s population, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic. His popularity rate dropped below 20% in late 2021 and currently stands at an estimated 28%. On top of this, we analysed Bolsonaro to have been ‘freezing’ in June 2020. According to Lula Da Silva during last month’s presidential debate, Bolsonaro has essentially undone the progress he achieved in his terms, which had led to economic prosperity and nation-wide social development.
It is for this very reason that Lula’s return to the Brazilian political scene (and his potential return to the presidency) has been met with exhilaration by the Brazilian population. In fact, recent prediction polls suggest that Da Silva is the favourite candidate.
Who is changing Da Silva’s heat level?
Answer: His charges being dropped by the Supreme Court.
Da Silva had completely served a double mandate between 2003 and 2011. Dilma Rousseff succeeded Lula as Brazil’s president after his final term in 2011. She served until 2016 – when she was impeached for corruption. Notably, Rousseff was involved in the Petrobras scandal. Investigations of the Petrobras scandal also revealed that Da Silva was heavily involved and that Rousseff had shielded him from criminal charges.
These revelations sparked a wave of investigations which eventually convicted Da Silva for corruption and money laundering. Evidently, this put Da Silva at a ‘freezing’ heat level as he was barred entirely from the Brazilian political scene. As aforementioned, however, Sergio Moro’s alleged conflict of interest and tampering of evidence has led to Lula’s charges being dropped entirely.
Although these charges had clear evidence of Da Silva’s involvement in acts of corruption, they were dropped as the jurisdictive reliability and legitimacy of the case were put in question. This signifies that the Clean State Law no longer restricts Da Silva from political activity, and his re-entry into the Brazilian political scene has set him on a hot heat level.
The only influential factor keeping Lula at a ‘hot’ level rather than a ‘blazing’ one is that his provisional success has sparked an outrage from Bolsonaro, who has called upon his followers to mobilise to reject what he views as ‘falsified votes’. This has threatened the outreach of his political campaign, though not very significantly. More directly, he is not ‘blazing’ as he has not yet been elected as president.
What is driving Lula Da Silva?
Answer: Lula Da Silva is being driven by his willingness to remove the far-right from power.
Da Silva – being a left-wing politician – has prioritised the replacement of the far-right due to its “incompetence and authoritarianism”, as well as the “revival of democracy”. In a way, Lula has prioritised his return to the Brazilian political scene in order to restore a democracy which he claims has been lost under Bolsonaro.
Lula Da Silva’s former presidential terms had led to economic and societal development, most of which he claims has been undone by Bolsonaro’s far-right presidency. Nonetheless, these policies implemented by Lula are often associated with Rousseff’s failure and Brazil’s economic crises in the long-run. This also suggests that Lula may be driven by a personal willingness to regain his reputation as ‘Brazil’s saviour’.
What does this mean for you?
Answer: Lula Da Silva’s potential re-election will lead to a revival of Brazilian international relations, as well as an opportunity for China to increase its investments in the country.
Bolsonaro’s presidency has led to the enactment of protectionist policies, as well as a reduction in international trade. Along with the COVID-19 pandemic during Bolsonaro’s presidency, the extent to which Brazil traded with China was heavily influenced. China’s notable expansion into the MERCOSUR region, for instance, had taken a hit under Bolsonaro’s presidency as he introduced obstacles to Chinese investments.
Bolsonaro’s objective to make Brazil’s industry more self-reliant and more competitive was hindered by China’s prioritisation of commodity trade. Given that Lula was the first president to open the Brazilian economy to Chinese FDI, his potential re-election could lead to a renewal of large-scale trading with China. This would consequently mean that China’s strongarm in South America could consolidate even further.
The economic implications of a potential return from Lula are significant, as Brazil’s private sector might sink even further in debt. During Lula’s previous presidency, he utilised lines of credit to fund and further his policies. In fact, 500 billion Reais (around 100 billion USD) were directly injected into the economy. Although Lula’s potential return has caused worry for the resurgence of such an approach, Lula is unlikely to repeat these loans due to the current instability of the Reais – these loans would lead to significant inflationary pressures.