The head of state, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, refused this Saturday to comment on Lula da Silva’s personal invitation to former Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates for his inauguration as president of Brazil.
Asked if the presence of José Sócrates bothers him, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa replied: “I am here representing Portugal and, while representing Portugal, nothing bothers me”.
“Four years ago I did not discuss the criteria of President Bolsonaro’s guests, today I did not discuss the criteria of President Lula da Silva’s guests,” added the head of state, who was speaking to journalists at the Portuguese embassy in Brasilia.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is in Brasilia to represent the Portuguese state at the inauguration of Lula da Silva as president of Brazil, on Sunday, January 1, as he did four years ago when Jair Bolsonaro took office.
Asked if he will remain close to Socrates in the inauguration of Lula da Silva, the President of the Republic refused to make “comments on the guests of the president-elect.”
“I have been to several inaugurations and I have never commented on the guests, much less the protocol, where who sits and how, I think it is the least important thing that can be in a ceremony like this,” he considered.
As Prime Minister of Portugal, from 2005 to 2011, José Sócrates coincided in power with Lula da Silva, who was President of Brazil from 2003 to 2011.
The two maintained ties of friendship, with Lula da Silva publicly defending José Sócrates in his court cases and vice versa.
In March 2021, when the Supreme Federal Court (STF) annulled all the convictions of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by the Federal Court of Paraná, José Sócrates declared that this “represented an extraordinary judicial victory”, after “five years of insistence , five years of battle, five years of will and sense of duty, five years of incessant.”
Earlier, in 2019, in an interview with RTP, Lula da Silva defended the punishment of the prosecutors who accused José Sócrates, if the accusation of Operation Marquês was deemed unproven: “If Sócrates was accused by someone [Ministério Público], that someone who accused you has to prove it. If he doesn’t show it, that person has to be punished,” he said.
Lula da Silva, 77, born in the municipality of Garanhuns, in the state of Pernambuco, defeated the incumbent president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, in the second round of the presidential elections, with 50.90% of the votes.