Lula Defeats Bolsonaro to Become Brazil’s President: Election Authority

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Brazil’s former leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is set to return to power after defeating incumbent conservative Jair Bolsonaro in a tight runoff election on Oct. 30.

With more than 99 percent of the vote counted, da Silva received 50.9 percent of the vote, while Bolsonaro had 49.1 percent. The Supreme Electoral Court said this was enough to “mathematically define” the outcome.

Voting is electronic, and the results were announced within two hours of polling stations closing.

The runoff election was held after both presidential candidates failed to get more than half of the votes in the first round of voting on Oct. 2.

“From Jan. 1, 2023, I will govern for 215 million Brazilians and not only for those who voted for me,” da Silva, popularly known as Lula, was quoted as saying by News 360 following his victory.

President Joe Biden congratulated da Silva, 77, on his victory in what Biden said were “free, fair, and credible elections.” Biden said in a statement that he looks forward to working with the new president to continue cooperation with Brazil.

Da Silva and his Workers’ Party governed Brazil for two terms from 2003 to 2010. In 2018, he was banned from reelection after being sentenced to 12 years in jail for money laundering and corruption involving state-owned energy company Petrobrás.

The Supreme Court later overturned da Silva’s sentence, explaining that he should be tried in his state of residence rather than the state in which he was charged. He was released in November 2019 after serving 580 days in jail and has yet to be retried over the charges, opening him to the possibility of impeachment.

Da Silva then ran for reelection with a vow to restore state-driven economic growth and social policies. He also promised to prioritize protections for the Amazon rainforest and make Brazil a leader in U.N.-led global climate talks—issues for which Bolsonaro offers different approaches, preferring local instead of federal or global solutions.

By Aldgra Fredly

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