Lula's return

Image: Hamilton Grimaldi


If the election were held now, Bolsonaro would probably reach the second round; a likely second round between Lula and Bolsonaro. A difficult choice?

Politics is a desert of prophets. The turnaround in the national picture this March was impressive and totally unexpected, confirming once again how difficult, indeed impossible, it is to make predictions in political matters. The reversal, as is known, was produced by three linked events. First, Minister Edson Fachin's decision to annul all sentences against former President Lula. Second, Minister Gilmar Mendes' decision to put Moro's suspicion to a vote (defeating Fachin's claim to declare the issue outdated). And, third, the ex-president's extraordinary speech, which demonstrated his almost unbelievable ability to express himself and argue, with strength and subtlety at the same time. He reaffirmed his government's political positions and achievements, but made significant nods to his opponents. He showed everyone that he is in top form. The reader may not even like Lula, not vote for him, but he must recognize that it was a statesman's speech.

Lula is back, eligible, with his political rights recovered. It is true that there may still be negative surprises in the Federal Supreme Court. There was an appeal from the Attorney General's Office (PGR) against Fachin's decision. And the vote on Moro's suspicion was interrupted by a request for views from Minister Nunes Marques, appointed by Bolsonaro. In legal terms, forecasts are also precarious – especially when the issues to be decided have broad political implications. But, as far as I can see, the reversal of the picture in the STF seems unlikely. In fact, a political fait accompli was created, with the repercussions of Fachin's decision in the country and abroad. And Lula's pronouncement consummated the fact. As an important PT leader noted, the paste came out of the tube.

I stop and reread what I wrote. Am I being too optimistic? Recent years have been very tough for Brazil. We haven't had so much unexpected and favorable news for a long time. In addition, the current serious crisis, with the pandemic out of control in much of the national territory, only makes us even more predisposed to welcome with perhaps excessive joy the turnaround in the political field.

Even with these caveats, I believe we do have reason to celebrate. The appeal of the PGR should not succeed in the plenary of the STF. It is even worth questioning, warn experts, whether the assessment of this appeal is really up to the plenary, as Fachin maintains, or to the second panel of the STF, where the tendency to confirm the decision is clearer. And Moro's suspicion seems irreversible, after everything that has surfaced about his behavior as a judge of the charges against Lula. His partiality was exposed.

A slightly ridiculous speculation, made by some political analysts and journalists, is that Bolsonaro would have been happy to be able to polarize with Lula. Does not make sense. With Lula out of the running, the current president's chances of re-election were greater. The traditional right has yet to find a strong candidate. And the center-left has no one with the strength of the former president.

Lula may even decide not to run for president, following the line adopted by Cristina Kirchner in Argentina. But it doesn't seem likely. Recent polls indicate that he could be considered the frontrunner at the moment. It is the best chance we have to get rid of this disaster called Bolsonaro in the 2022 elections.

Of course, the best scenario for Brazil would be Bolsonaro's immediate departure, whether due to impediment or interdiction. There is no lack of legitimate reasons to remove him, reasons entirely consistent with the rules of our democracy.

With each passing month, the country takes large steps backwards in all or almost all relevant areas. The President of the Republic has followed irresponsible and even criminal policies regarding the pandemic. We have already paid a very high price in the first two years of this government – ​​in the economic area, in social matters, in the destruction of the environment, with the shameful foreign policy, with the dismantling of public policies and the state apparatus. The bill will inevitably be much heavier if we have to wait until 2023.

Be that as it may, Brazil's political prospects are now better than they were at the beginning of March. I know that Bolsonaro is still strong, despite everything. It's unbelievable, but the different opinion polls and voting intentions indicate, so far, surprising support from the population. Support has noticeably waned since the start of the year, but is still significant.

It is quite possible, even likely, that this decline will continue. The government's failure to face the pandemic is becoming increasingly evident. The economy, which was already weak, suffers the blow of the second wave of Covid 19. Unemployment, underemployment and poverty tend to worsen.

And yet, if the election were held now, Bolsonaro would likely make it to the second round. Possible candidates from the traditional right – Dória, Huck, Mandetta, among others – have not yet taken off. The second round would therefore be between Lula and Bolsonaro. A difficult choice?

*Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr. he was vice-president of the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS in Shanghai, and executive director at the IMF for Brazil and ten other countries. Author, among other books, of Brazil doesn't fit in anyone's backyard: backstage of the life of a Brazilian economist in the IMF and the BRICS and other texts on nationalism and our mongrel complex (LeYa.)

Extended version of article published in the journal Capital letter, on March 19, 2021.


See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich