Brazil’s Lula Gets a Warm EU Welcome, Unlike Bolsonaro
(Bloomberg) -- Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is leading the polls ahead of next year’s election. He’s also getting a warm reception as he tours Europe, in stark contrast with the country’s current leader, Jair Bolsonaro.
Only days after Bolsonaro appeared isolated at the Group of 20 leaders summit in Rome, Lula managed to secure a number of high-profile meetings with European officials.
On Sunday he met the European Union’s High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, who said on Twitter that they had a “good exchange” on EU-Latin American relations.
On Tuesday, Lula will be greeted by Paris mayor and presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo. And last week, he was hosted by Germany’s chancellor-in-waiting Olaf Scholz. “I am delighted by our good discussions and look forward to continue our dialogue!” Scholz said.
The two Brazilian leaders couldn’t be more different. Lula is a former union leader who ran the country between 2003 and 2010 on an income redistribution platform fueled by higher commodity prices. He saw his star power fade after a massive corruption probe that landed him in jail until 2019. A Supreme Court justice eventually annulled Lula’s convictions, clearing the way for him to run for office again.
Bolsonaro, meanwhile, is a far-right ex-army captain with a liking for guns who was elected in 2018 on a promise to fight corruption and defend traditional family values. His mandate has been marred by his poor handling of the coronavirus and a sluggish economy. He’s also been skeptical of climate change.
Lula stopped short of admiting he will run in next year’s presidential election. “I’m willing, I’m motivated, I’m in good health” to be a candidate, Lula said, according to the AFP. But he added he will only make his decision early 2022.
He would win a runoff against Bolsonaro, according to polls.
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