Brazil presidential election: Lula da Silva defeats Bolsonaro
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has returned to power in Brazil after 20 years by defeating far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro in a tight runoff election. Around 99.7% of votes have been counted, of which Lula secured 50.9% votes while Bolsonaro got 49.1%. The former leftist president has vowed to reunite Brazil after assuming charge, which is left extremely divided after the polarizing election.
Why does this story matter?
- Silva's victory in Brazil—South America's biggest economy—extended the run of leftist wins in Latin America after Chile, Colombia, and Argentina.
- Silva and Bolsonaro were involved in a tough runoff competition after a high-turnout election this month saw no candidate securing the required majority.
- While Bolsonaro emphasized his several economic reforms, Silva relied on the implementation of welfare programs for the poor during his presidency.
Silva, supporters celebrated victory at Paulista, Pernambuco
People from around the world celebrated Silva's victory
"The powerful can kill one, two, or 100 roses. But they'll never stop the arrival of spring" - Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva— Ganesh Babu (@iamgany) October 31, 2022
Lula wins despite all the disinformation and divisive hate-mongering. One of the greatest political comeback of all time. ❤️✨#LulaPresidente2022 pic.twitter.com/DuxqVCJ3AV
Silva was jailed in 2018 for corruption, but later acquitted
Silva—popularly known as Lula—is expected to take charge on January 1, 2023. Called the "shoe-shine boy" by the media, 77-year-old Silva is a former factory worker and union leader who became Brazil's first working-class president in 2003 and served till 2010. He was sidelined from the 2018 elections, in which Bolsonaro emerged triumphant, after he was jailed on corruption charges but was later acquitted.
Inflation, polarization biggest perils facing Brazil
Silva said he would "govern" for all 215M Brazilians and not just those from his Workers' Party, bringing in centrists and some right-wingers who voted for him previously. Brazil is currently facing a high rate of inflation and political polarization. Notably, the Sunday election was the closest in three decades—with a margin of just two million votes—since Brazil's return to democracy in 1985.
'New times of peace, love, and hope'
After his victory, The Guardian quoted Silva as saying, "We are going to live new times of peace, love, and hope. I will govern for 215M Brazilians...and not just for those who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people." "We will fight for zero deforestation in the Amazon...Brazil and the planet need the Amazon alive," he added.