sexta-feira, 24 de novembro de 2006

The challenges facing the new government

The re-election of President Lula da Silva puts into evidence some of the mains issues facing the Brazilian society today.

In 2002, when Lula and his Workers' Party (PT) won the elections Brazil witnessed the first genuine power change since the military coup of 1964 interrupted the country's political process, postponing its maturing.

The first term of President Lula was historic in itself. But it was al the more meaningful in the measure that it was able to keep the country's economy stable while at the same time promoting a long-needed wealth distribution by means of a series of innovative and efficient public policies.

President Lula's apporval ratings and expressive vote are all the more impressive in face of the systematic smearing and violent rhetoric to which his government and his party were subject to for over a year, by opposition parties and the big corporate media.

In his new term, President Lula will have to once again conciliate a progressist agenda in a conservative society - which is particularly well represented in the political system. Moreover, he will have to deal with an elitist media, which voices the economic interests of the hegemonic sectors of Brazilian society, while trying to stand for the unrepresented majority, who have no material means to voice their desires - except for voting.

So, in a few words, what is at stake at this point in Brazil's history, is a deepening, a maturing, of our democracy. We are back to the stage when the military seized power in the 1960's, when the social movements were more organized. President Lula's government is a turning point: from now on, upcoming governments will have to take into account the demands of the voiceless majority, with effective policies.

As for the traditional economic elite, they will have to grasp this new government. The old idea that "the pie must grow in order to be shared" no longer holds. The press failed miserably in its purpose to de-moralize PT and de-stabilize the government: society as a whole has got to reflect upon this, in face of the huge concentration of the media in the hands of a few economic groups, with particular political agendas.

President Lula has a conciliatory nature. That will come in handy, as he will need to find a common ground to democratically promote social transformation, expanding social rights for the poor; a process of democratization of the media must come in parallel to that process. Most of all, President Lula must act as a bridge between the two groups - the haves and the have-nots - and to make the former understand that the benefits of the latter are also in their best interests.

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