The voted-out Brazilian President Bolsonaro leaves his successor Lula a lot of work to do. This apparently also includes the presidential palace. The new First Lady shows a TV crew run-down and looted rooms.
The voted-out Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has apparently left the head of state's official residence in Brasília in the worst possible condition: the new First Lady Rosangela "Janja" da Silva led reporters from TV Globo through the Alvorada Palace to review its constitution after the departure of the President to show the previous occupant.
Parts of the famous building were "run down," said the wife of the new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the tour, pointing to ragged carpets, broken floors, broken windows and water damage to a ceiling. A huge banquet hall filmed by the TV crew was completely empty, with all furnishings apparently removed. An unknown number of pieces of furniture and works of art from the presidential residence are missing, said Rosangela da Silva. Other furnishings were damaged, and a 19th-century painting was simply lying on the floor. In the historic library, on the other hand, electronic equipment lay scattered around, from where Bolsonaro gave weekly video speeches during his term of office, which ended at the turn of the year.
At the first meeting of his cabinet, Brazil's new President Lula promised the country's "reconstruction" after a bumpy first few days in office. "We face an arduous but noble task," said the left-wing head of state. "We will have to leave this country better, healthier and more prosperous (...) with better education and a return to decency."
Lula, who has been the idol of the Latin American left for years, won the runoff election for the presidency on October 30 by a razor-thin margin over Bolsonaro. Lula's cabinet consists of 37 ministers - 14 more than under Bolsonaro. Among them are eleven women, five black people and two indigenous people. That, too, is a break from Bolsonaro's white male-dominated government.
Meanwhile, Lula's cabinet is facing major challenges in the politically divided and economically ailing country. It was already struggling with difficulties in the first week: the most important Brazilian stock index fell by more than three percent on Monday. Investors reacted nervously to doubts about how Lula would fund his campaign-pledged social spending given the scarce resources in the treasury.