‘Brazil has no government’: Lula tears into Bolsonaro in comeback speech
Brazil’s former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came out swinging against President Jair Bolsonaro’s “imbecile” handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday as he made his return to the political stage, two days after a judge reinstated his right to run for office.
Lula, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, has emerged as a leading contender to face the far-right incumbent next year after a Supreme Court justice annulled his convictions on Monday and reinstated his political rights.
In his first comments since the ruling, Lula, 75, gave a scathing take-down of Bolsonaro’s management of the economy and signature policies.
He was especially biting on Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 266,000 people in Brazil – the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.
“This country has no government,” Lula told a news conference. “This country doesn’t take care of the economy, of job creation, wages, health care, the environment, education, young people.”
Later Wednesday, the country registered a new record for daily Covid-19 fatalities, with 2,286 people dead from the virus in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, flouted expert advice on containing it and fuelled vaccine scepticism.
“Don’t follow any imbecile decisions by the president of the republic or the health minister: get vaccinated,” Lula said.
The former president “managed to sound both serene and angry, both radical and conciliatory,” said FRANCE 24’s correspondent Tim Vickery. “This is an experienced politician showing that he is still at the top of his game.”
Lula, a former metal worker and union leader, led Brazil through an economic boom and is remembered for social programmes that helped lift tens of millions of people from poverty…..read more