Brasilia, Oct 8 (EFE).- President Jair Bolsonaro’s rule has been “disastrous” for Brazil, former head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said here Friday, calling on his compatriots to opt for a capable, “humane” candidate in next year’s presidential election.
Lula, who governed from 2003-2011, criticized the right-wing incumbent for economic policies that have resulted in high unemployment, double-digit inflation and a situation where more than 16 million Brazilians are “going hungry.”
And the Bolsonaro administration has come under fire from across the political spectrum for its handling of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 600,000 lives in Brazil, a death toll second only to that of the United States.
“This country will have to be sensible and elect someone who likes democracy,” Lula said, alluding to Bolsonaro’s well-known admiration for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime. “Someone who has feelings, who is humane and who doesn’t utter nonsense.”
Lula, 75, is widely expected to challenge Bolsonaro in 2022, but the founder and leader of the center-left Workers Party (PT) has yet to throw his hat into the ring.
“I will decide about my candidacy at the beginning of next year,” he said Friday.
Even so, Lula has spent the last six days in Brasilia meeting not only with the PT’s traditional allies in social organizations, but also with politicians from centrist and conservative parties.
Analysts interpret Lula’s effort at ideological outreach as meant to ensure that he would have support in Congress if he sought and won another mandate as president.
With the elections a year away, polls show Lula leading Bolsonaro by 44 percent to 26 percent, while the proportion of Brazilians expressing disapproval of the incumbent has climbed to 52 percent.