Brazil: In Power at Last

At his fourth attempt, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – known universally as Lula – is becoming President of Brazil. It is the first time that someone speaking for the poor and dispossessed has held this office. Will he really be able to introduce a new way of doing politics in a country with a fragile economy?

The World Today Published 1 January 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 3 minute READ

Paulo Wrobel

This is an extraordinary event in Brazil’s recent history, which has raised a great deal of interest at home and abroad. Given his unique personal and political biography, Lula has suddenly become a source of curiosity all over the world. From being well known only to a small circle of left wing groups and social activists outside Brazil, he has now become an emblematic figure for those seeking new sources of ideas and inspiration in a world tired of conventional politics.

The British media, in particular the financial press, have been very poor in analysing Lula, emphasising his apparent populism and Latin American style, which could disrupt the pattern of reforms initiated by outgoing President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and the country’s relative economic stability. This characterisation is way off the mark, oversimplifying both his personal trajectory and the politics of his Partido dos Trabalhadores, or Workers party.

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