There will be no coup in Brazil if I defeat Jair Bolsonaro

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A recent visit to Europe is said to have set the stage for further trips abroad this year to brush up on his credentials as a statesman.

European leaders welcomed him with open arms late last year, with Emmanuel Macron, a strong critic of Mr Bolsonaro, hosting him at the Elysée Palace, a rare honor signaling his support.

On the same trip, Lula traveled to Italy, where he received a warm welcome from leaders days before Mr Bolsonaro arrived for the G20 summit, where he cut an isolated figure, notably absent from the photo of the Trevi Fountain leaders . Lula is said to be preparing for a visit to the UK.

Lula told The Telegraph he would use his foreign policy to push for stronger alliances between Latin American countries that could challenge US-Chinese orthodoxy.

“This union will strengthen our sovereignty and our positions in a world that cannot remain in the midst of a new cold war between the United States and China. We want a multipolar world where there is more cooperation between countries and less conflict,” he said.

After a year and a half in prison, Lula was acquitted by the Brazilian Supreme Court of his presidential candidacy for accepting bribes from engineering firms in exchange for public contracts.

Part of the scandal revolved around an apartment Lula was promised by a construction company in exchange for help brokering lucrative contracts.

Critics and much of the electorate claim that Lula’s Labor Party is riddled with corruption and argue that his return could do further damage to Brazil’s fragile democracy. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, was indicted for her role in a scandal known as Operation Carwash, a massive bribery and money-laundering web involving politicians who received bribes from oil companies and a construction company — and stretching across at least 11 other countries.

Lula told The Telegraph he was the victim of “prejudice” over allegations linking him to the scandal, which have now been dropped.

He said he did not want to pre-judge Boris Johnson over corruption allegations at his No 10 flat.

“Political parties are groups that defend ideas, that contest elections. If a member of this party has done something wrong, he must be punished within the law, but one cannot confuse the mistakes of an individual with a collective organization of thousands or millions of people, because that leads to politics being demonized.” , he said.

He added: “History teaches us, whether in Germany in the 1930s or in Brazil in recent years: when politics is denied, worse always comes.”

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