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Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva showed on Wednesday that his political career is far from over. Lula, as he is more commonly known, returned to address the nation after the annulment of his corruption convictions.
Lula was previously known for his casual attire, including many red shirts, in honour of the Workers’ Party, which he founded in 1980. This time, sporting a sharp dark suit with a powder blue dress shirt, the 75-year-old’s message was clear. He is back.
Last Monday, a justice of Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled Lula’s two bribery convictions, clearing the way for the former president to run in the 2022 elections and challenge the far-Right president Jair Bolsonaro. Lula, who led Brazil between 2003 and 2011, said he remained unsure about whether to seek a third term.
Barely looking down at his notes during a speech that lasted nearly two hours, Lula showcased his trademark confidence and charisma throughout. A metalworker who rose to prominence in the 1980s as a union leader, Lula used everyday language to discuss the economy and to criticise Bolsonaro for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis that has besieged the country, claiming that Brazil currently “has no government”.
Although it remains unconfirmed whether his name will be on the ballot next year, many pundits and members of the public are certain it will. Certainly, his public appearance this week bore all the hallmarks of a presidential campaign.
Addressing journalists while standing in front of a famous picture of himself being held aloft by a crowd of supporters, and with a banner in the top right-hand corner reading; “Health, jobs and justice for Brazil”, Lula immediately took aim at the injustice that had been bestowed upon him.
Many harboured suspicions that his arrest was engineered to ensure a Bolsonaro victory
Declaring himself “the victim of the biggest judicial lie told in the country’s 500-year history”, Lula went on to describe the suffering he endured in prison from April 2018 to November 2019,