Brazilian president-elect to be inaugurated in polarized nation

This Sunday, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be sworn in as Brazil's president for the third time. The ceremony at Congress in Brasilia is set to begin at 3pm local time, with an expected 30,000 attendees. Lula is returning to office after narrowly defeating far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the October elections - marking the tightest presidential race in more than three decades.

Lula's victory marks the end of a hiatus that saw him spend a year and a half behind bars on corruption convictions. Now, he faces the daunting challenge of improving Brazil's stagnant economy while also uniting a country that has become painfully polarized under Bolsonaro.

Acting President Hamilton Mourao criticized Bolsonaro for failing to lead the country and allowing anti-democratic sentiment to thrive after his October defeat at the polls. In response, Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on Friday, avoiding having to hand over the sash to his rival, whose victory he has yet to recognize.

Authorities have deployed 10,000 police and troops to reinforce security and search participants at the ceremony on Sunday. Organizers said delegations from 50 nations and 19 heads of state and governments, including the king of Spain, have confirmed their attendance.

Now, Brazil will have to wait to see how Lula will attempt to improve the nation's economy, while uniting a divided country. This Sunday, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will take the presidential sash, beginning his third tenure as Brazil's head of state.


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