It’s time to take stock of the Lula management, which officially began on January 1, 2023 but in reality began immediately after his election at the beginning of November 2022, when Bolsonaro and his government disappeared.
Let’s get straight to the facts. What are the decisions already approved and implemented by the Government?
– Reissue of the “Bolsa Familia” program, which had been replaced by Bolsonaro with the “auxilio emergencial”
– Reissue of the “Mais Medicos” program, created by the Dilma Rousseff government which provides for the sending of doctors (including foreign, mainly Cuban) to the most isolated and poorest cities of the country
– Reissue of the “Minha Casa, Minha vida” program for the construction of social housing
– Construction of the “Vaca Muerta” (!) gas pipeline, which will connect Argentina and Brazil
– Presentation of the new tax regime (“arcabouço fiscal”), replacing the expenditure ceiling approved during the Temer government
Furthermore, it abolished the “Lei do saneamento basico”, which provided for the privatization of the water management sector and the treatment of the sewage system
It seems very little, especially for a government born with the aim of reviving Brazil from a moral, social and economic point of view.
In an interview released on April 9, 2023, Lula declared that in these first months of his mandate he had to give priority to the most urgent measures, to resolve the instability left by the Bolsonaro government, and to the need to create alliances to build a parliamentary majority that support government initiatives.
However, governance problems do not justify some positions that represent a step backwards, or many steps backwards. Let us think, for example, of the desire to modify the “Lei das estatais“, approved in 2016 to avoid (or at least contain) corruption in state-owned companies, endemic precisely in the previous PT governments.
Another absurd step backwards is the request for a revision of the clemency agreements with the companies convicted during the Lava Jato operation, aimed at reducing the sanctions against the companies convicted in the biggest corruption scandal in history.
At this moment, Lula seems to be on the one hand gripped by a desire for revenge against those who brought down the Dilma government and against those who imprisoned him and on the other hand hostage of a Parliament which in the majority did not support his election and who now ask a high price to support it.
PT and close leftist allies have only 140 out of 513 deputies and 15 out of 81 senators. Together with the center parties with which it has signed agreements, the government can now count on approximately a maximum of 287 deputies and 47 senators. Insufficient numbers to approve a Proposal for a Constitutional Amendment, but sufficient for the approval of ordinary laws.
In other words, without the votes of the two big center parties (MDB and Uniao Brasil), Lula cannot govern.
“Brazil is back” is a beautiful slogan (but already used by Temer…) and indeed Brazil is returning, yes, to a sunny place in the world, regarding diversity, environment and self-esteem. But it must go further.
Lula doesn’t help much, when he dismisses warnings about fiscal responsibility, when he questions the autonomy of the Central Bank and calls for forcibly reducing the SELIC (discount rate) and raising the inflation target, when he questions the necessary reforms made by its predecessors.
Even more serious is when Lula takes aim at Petrobras’ pricing policies and public bank interest rates.
In the first hundred days, Lula certainly strengthened democracy and brought the social agenda back to the fore.
From now on he has the difficult task of restarting the Brazilian economy without blowing up the public accounts, devaluing the real and creating new inflation. Its greatest enemy is at home, it is that radical wing of the PT which has targeted the Minister of Economy himself, Fernando Haddad, and which is pressing for the return of the expansionist economic policy which has brought Brazil into the deep recession of 2015 and 2016.
Will Lula make it? We all hope so, but only God knows….