Lula has officially been sworn in as Brazil's president for the third time

Lula won against former President Jair Bolsonaro in October's election.

Lula has officially been sworn in as Brazil's president for the third time
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his wife Rosangela "Janja" da Silva wave to supporters from the motorcade after Lula's swearing-in ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The backstory: Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is a left-wing politician who led Brazil for two presidential terms between 2003 and 2010. Even though he was sentenced to 12 years in jail for a massive corruption scandal three years ago, Lula is still credited with helping millions of Brazilians escape poverty during his two terms. Lula maintained he was innocent and that the case against him was politically motivated. He was released from prison after serving 580 days, and he boldly returned to run for president again on a campaign to defend democracy.

More recently: Lula won against former President Jair Bolsonaro in October's election, amid the country's economic struggles, rising poverty and a Congress controlled by Bolsonaro's party and his allies. Bolsonaro has not yet conceded defeat and has openly questioned the election results.

The development: On Sunday, Lula was sworn in as the world's fourth-largest democracy's president, marking the third time he has held the country's highest office. Lula's inauguration drew hundreds of thousands of people decked out in the red color of his party for "Lulapalooza." But, Bolsonaro was notably absent, as he left the country for Florida in the US before the inauguration, breaking with tradition for the outgoing leader to present the presidential sash to the incoming president.

In his first speech as president, he pledged to undo the legacy of his predecessor's government which involved combatting hunger and poverty and protecting the rainforest by reaching "zero deforestation" in the Amazon by 2030.

Key comments:

"Upon these terrible ruins, I pledge to rebuild the country, together with the Brazilian people," said Lula in his speech at the inauguration. "There aren't two Brazils. We are one country, one people."

"Brazil will not end on January 1, you can be sure about that," said Bolsonaro to supporters on Friday, referring to Lula's inauguration date. "Today we have a mass of people who know more about politics. They understand they are at risk. Good will win. We have leaders all over Brazil. New politicians or reelected politicians, they will make a difference."

"We look forward to continuing the strong U.S.-Brazil partnership in trade, security, sustainability, innovation, and inclusion," said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Twitter. "Here's to a bright future for our countries - and the world."

"I know it won't be easy for Lula to rebuild everything that Bolsonarismo has destroyed. But I feel hopeful. If there's anyone who enjoys the popular support and international respect from leaders around the planet needed to rebuild Brazil's relationships with the world, it's Lula," said Diogo Virgílio Teixeira, a 41-year-old anthropologist from São Paulo to The Guardian.