What changed and what did not in the Brazilian Congress after the triumph of Lula da Silva in the last elections

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Arthur Lira, of the Progressive Party, was confirmed as president of the Chamber of Deputies with a record number of votes, while Rodrigo Pacheco, of the Social Democratic Party , he was re-elected as leader of the Senate

What has changed and what hasn't in the Brazilian Congress after Lula da Silva's victory in the last elections< /p>

By

Maria ZuppelloFrom São Paulo, Brazil.< /i>

What changed and what did not in the Brazilian Congress after the victory of Lula da Silva in the last elections< /p>The Brazilian Senate

They were only the elections to elect the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, but they became a kind of third presidential round due to the importance given to them by Congress and the tense negotiations until the last vote. In the end, everything was as it was, only now the country's leader is no longer Jair Messias Bolsonaro, but Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. With the same number of players, the rules of the game and the possible prizes to share change.

Arthur Lira, from the Progressive Party (PP), and Rodrigo Pacheco, from the Social Democratic Party(PSD), were confirmed as presidents of the Chamber and the Senate, respectively. Lira took the record number of 464 votes out of the 509 deputies present. Pacheco prevailed by 49 votes to 32 over his opponent Rogério Marinho, from Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL). Pacheco was the great victory for Lula, who behind the scenes did everything possible for his re-election, with tight negotiations and promises of public office. Thus, he obtained more support and the first major defeat of Bolsonarismo in Congress.

Both Lira and Pacheco had no problem adapting to the new course, also in the name of that transformism with which the Brazilian Congress for years has been able to override any government while preserving its power. Immediately after his re-election, Lira, who had even campaigned for Bolsonaro's re-election last year, told Brazilian television Globo that he had a “calm” relationship with Lula and that he had “never” made any personal criticism of him. He added that governments “have multiple faces” and that in Bolsonaro's he supported “the liberal face in the economy, not the anti-democratic agenda”.

In December, Lira had supported one of the Lula's central proposals, that is, the vote on the Proposal for a Constitutional Amendment (PEC), which provided for an increase in the spending ceiling of 169.1 billion reais, some 33 billion dollars. The non-governmental organization Transparency Internationalcriticized Lira's re-election on Twitter: “Condemned for embezzlement of public funds, father of the secret budget (that is, a legal but shady mechanism to transfer funds from the executive to legislators) and responsible for the most opaque and authoritarian legislative management since the end of the dictatorship, Lira was re-elected with a record vote. There will be no peace, justice or democracy as long as Brazil is governed by the Center”, read the NGO's Twitter account.

What has changed and what has not changed in the Brazilian Congress after Lula da Silva's victory in the last elections< /p>Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks with Brazilian Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira

As for Pacheco, after being supported by Bolsonaro's bases in his first election, in 2021, last year he was proposed by his party as a possible presidential candidate for an alternative third way to Lula and Bolsonaro. However, then nothing came of it. But that taste of polarization that so characterized the 2022 presidential vote remained in his mouth.

And so, in his candidacy for re-election to the Senate , while his opponent Marinho pointed his finger at “the independence of the three powers”, Pacheco did nothing more than talk about the “defense of democracy”. Re-elected, Pacheco declared that “the message we are sending is that we will maintain the defense of democracy at all costs”.

The victory of Pacheco and Lira is above all a victory for Lula, who now enjoys greater support in Congress, and represents the first major defeat for Bolsonarismo. In fact, despite the fact that the PL has the second largest bloc in the Senate, it leaves the leadership table. However,

Will it be enough to guarantee governability to the Lula government, now in its third term by a two million vote difference with Bolsonaro and with a completely polarized country? Lula also continues to maintain a hard and controversial line, also criticized by a part of his party, on the economy. The president, in his message to Congress read by the Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa, again condemned the spending ceiling.

However, this measure allowed the country to emerge from the deep economic recession caused by the heterodox policies of former president Dilma Rousseff, who later left the scene with an impeachment in 2016.

What changed and what didn't in the Brazilian Congress after Lula da Silva's victory in the last elections

The president of the Brazilian Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco

Lula reiterated this vision of the economy and his political agenda in an interview with Rede TV. “I will wait for this gentleman – referring to the director of the Central Bank Roberto Campos Neto– conclude its mandate to make an evaluation of what it has meant to have an independent Central Bank”. Independence for Lula is “stupid.” And to conclude his attack, he added that “Brazil needs to grow again.There is no reason for the interest rate to be 13.75%.”

Words that immediately rebounded in the markets, causing the appreciation of the dollar against the real and the fall of the stock market. Faced with such a scenario, the decisions of Congress, which has the power – but it remains to be seen if it also has the will – to stop any economic drift of the new government, will be crucial. In the balance are, in particular, two hot topics for the future of the country: tax reform and a new rule to control public spending.

The opposition made up of the PL, the Republicans and the PP is convinced that it is precisely on these two issues that it will really gain strength. Lula, however, has started a series of negotiations to grant public appointments in exchange for political support, for management positions in state companies. In addition to the appointments, according to rumors close to the Workers' Party (PT), Lula would also be willing to grant parliamentary amendments in an even less transparent manner, according to the Brazilian press, than those criticized by the previous Bolsonaro government.

< p>What has changed and what has not changed in the Brazilian Congress after Lula da Silva's victory in the last elections

The former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro

In summary, the slogan of wanting to “dialogue with everyone”, even with the PT, risks turning Congress into a market.

< p class="paragraph">However, the opposition inside and outside the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies seems to be more disunited than ever. Bolsonaro remains in Orlando, Florida, with no intention of returning to Brazil, in fact he appears to have requested a new six-month visa from the United States authorities, where he gives lectures for groups linked to the American extremist Steve Bannon and from time to time does some statements about the politics of your country. “I don't think it will last,” he said a few days ago, referring to Lula's government.

In Brazil, meanwhile, former Brazilian Labor Party (PLB) deputy Daniel Silveira , sentenced in April last year to almost nine years by the Federal Supreme Court (STF) for an online livestream in which he harshly attacked Judge Alexandre de Moraes, was arrested again on Thursday for breaching house arrest.

In 2022 he was pardoned by Bolsonaro the day after the sentence and precisely around the figure of Silveira, the scandal of an alleged coup d'état that former President Bolsonaro would have articulated before leaving for the US at the end of last year. The bomb was dropped in a live broadcast on his social platforms by the senator from the Podemos party Marcos Do Val, who, a few hours after claiming to have been involved by Bolsonaro in the preparations for a coup d'état, retracted, saying that the plan was Silveira's and not the former president's.

Finally, Anderson Torres, a former Bolsonaro minister who later became Secretary of Security of the Federal District where Brasilia is located, detained upon his return from the United Statesdue to an alleged omission in relation to the acts of vandalism on January 8, he shrugged off any responsibility in his second interrogation with the Federal Police. According to him, the invasion of the palaces of power occurred because the security forces did not follow the plan decided in a meeting two days earlier in which representatives of the security forces, the legislative power and the executive power at the federal level would have participated. .

Although the truth about the causes of the security omissions in the events of January 8 will probably never be known – Lula has said that he is against the Parliamentary Commission of Investigation (CPI) on the matter proposed by some deputies – Brazil now needs a Congress that acts for the good of the country and not for partisan interests. The challenges, especially the economic ones, are tough and can have a significant impact on the daily lives of millions of Brazilians.

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