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Lula sworn in as Brazil’s new president

Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva has been inaugurated Brazil’s president after defeating his right-wing incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, in October, last year.

Lula’s inauguration ascension to the presidency came after Mr Bolsonaro, who had not conceded defeat, fled to the US state of Florida in order to avoid the hand-over ceremony.

In a speech to Congress on Sunday after officially taking the reins of power, Lula said democracy was the “true winner” of last year’s presidential vote when he ousted Mr Bolsonaro in a narrow victory.

Lula, who was behind bars during Mr Bolsonaro’s 2019 inauguration on graft convictions that were later overturned, issued a threat to his predecessor.

The BBC reports that Mr Bolsonaro faces “mounting legal risks” for his “anti-democratic rhetoric” and his “handling of the pandemic” now that he no longer has presidential immunity.

His trip to Orlando, Florida, insulates him from any immediate legal jeopardy in Brazil, the report adds. 

“We do not carry any spirit of revenge against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological designs, but we will guarantee the rule of law,” Lula said, without mentioning Mr Bolsonaro by name.

“Those who erred will answer for their errors,” he warned.

‘He also accused Mr Bolsonaro’s administration of committing”‘genocide” by failing to respond properly to the COVID-19 virus that killed more than 680,000 Brazilians.

“The responsibilities for this genocide must be investigated and must not go unpunished,” he said.

Lula’s plans for government provided a contrast to Mr Bolsonaro’s four years in office, which were characterised by backsliding on environmental protections in the Amazon rainforest, looser gun laws, and weaker protections for indigenous peoples and minorities.This is Lula’s third presidential term, having first been elected Latin-America’s largest nation in 2003 and 2008.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Tony Okerafor