Lula’s future minister accuses the Bolsonarists of generating terrorism, while foreseeing difficult negotiations in Congress


Flavio Dino, appointed by Lula as justice minister in the government due to take office on January 1, has expressed his concern for the camps of the most radical followers of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, after the arrest of a man who had attempted to ha detonated an explosive device in Brasilia and had an arsenal at his home seized.

The man, arrested Saturday night on charges of attempting to detonate an explosive at the Brazilian capital’s airport, admitted that he was part of the group of “bolsonarists” camped in front of the army headquarters in Brasilia to call a coup d’état which prevents Lula’s return to power.

“Saturday’s serious events in Brasilia demonstrate that these ‘patriots’ camps have become incubators for terrorists,” said the future justice minister, senator-elect from the state of Maranhao and an important ally of the progressive leader.

Dino said that some measures are being taken and will be extended “as quickly as possible” to neutralize the danger generated by such groups.

However, he regretted that some federal authorities, directly dependent on the far-right leader, had ignored this situation and warned that “they must also take action against these political crimes”.

“The investigations into the unacceptable terrorism continue”, added Dino, who announced that he had asked the commissioner who will appoint Director General of the Federal Police in the future government to maintain contact with the authorities to be aware of progress.

“There is no possible political pact and there will be no amnesty for terrorists, their supporters and financiers,” he warned.

The deactivation of an explosive device that had been planted inside a fuel tanker and the discovery of the arsenal in the home of the person accused of arming the bomb occurred just eight days after Lula’s inauguration and made fear possible acts of violence during the seizure of power. .

Two shotguns, a shotgun, two revolvers, three pistols, hundreds of ammunition, camouflage uniforms and five explosive emulsions used in mines and similar to the one that equipped the deactivated device were found in the defendant’s home.

Although the Brasilia police did not initially cite threats or suspicions of a possible attack on January 1, when Lula will take on his third term as president of Brazil, the fact was communicated to the progressive leader’s transition team, which has already expressed his safety concerns during the unveiling.

At least 17 heads of state or government, including the king of Spain and the presidents of Germany, Portugal, Argentina and Uruguay, confirmed the presence at the inauguration ceremony of the leader and founder of the Workers’ Party.

Lula will be held hostage by centrist parties to secure a majority in Congress

With pledges of participation in government, as well as freeing up resources for lawmakers, the progressive leader won the support of large centrist parties who did not back him in elections to pass a constitutional amendment vital to his administration this week.

The initiative guaranteed money in the 2023 budget to finance subsidies for the poor, an increase in the minimum wage, investments in education and health care and other promises the founder of the Workers’ Party (PT) made during the election campaign.

The amendment obtained the support of 331 of the 513 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 63 of the 81 senators thanks to the decisive support of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB), the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Unión Brasil, three formations with important minorities and who did not support Lula in the elections.

Lula even negotiates with the Bolsonaro party

The initiative also obtained the vote of 37 of the 56 deputies of the Progressive Party (PP), a right-wing formation which supported President Jair Bolsonaro in the elections, but which approached Lula after he promised to support the re-election of the current Speaker of the Lower House, Arthur Lira.

After the unprecedented approval in record time of a proposal for a president still to be installed, the socialist leader reiterated his intention to negotiate the inclusion in the government coalition of the center and right-wing formations that did not support him in the elections, but neither does Bolsonaro.

“It is the first time that a president has started governing before taking office. Many parties that are not part of the governing coalition have supported the project. That is why we must welcome forces that have not supported us,” he said.

Majority support for his proposal with help from center parties was a sign of Lula’s ability to negotiate policy and that he will have no major difficulty dealing with a mostly opposition parliament as long as he makes concessions to them, they agree analysts consulted by the EFE.

“We can never stop considering that Lula has already had eight years of government with a very similar configuration of Congress. From what everything indicates and the speed with which the amendment was approved, support in Parliament will not be a problem” , he said. EFE Marco Antonio Carvalho Teixeira, analyst at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.

“To ensure this support, of course, the composition of the government must include centre-right parties,” he added.

Bolsonaro’s party will be the largest in the future congress

The leader of the PT will be held hostage by these parties because the Congress elected in October and taking office in February will be even more conservative than the current one, with Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) having the largest minorities in both chambers (14 senators and 99 deputies).

The ten parties that supported the former president in the elections will have only 139 of the 513 seats in the lower house, so Lula will depend on the 190 deputies of the four center parties with which he is negotiating an alliance to reach majorities.

The need to welcome so many allies into his government forced Lula to announce a cabinet with 37 ministries, 14 more than Bolsonaro’s.

Of the 16 ministries he has not yet announced, the progressive leader is negotiating to offer three to the MDB (Environment, Cities and Transportation), two to the PSD (Agriculture and Mining and Energy) and one to the Union of Brazil (National Integration).

“If the Bolsonarists fail to elect a staunch opponent of Lula to the presidency of the Senate and the House and the president manages to maintain the support of the center, relations with Congress will be calm during his four-year term,” Teixeira said.

The analyst clarified that parliamentary support will also depend on the political situation and if Lula will be able to maintain the support of public opinion. “If the government wears out very quickly, that wear will be reflected in the relationship with Congress,” she concluded.

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