Lula da Silva Reelected As President of Brazil

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Afro-Brazilians flooded the streets last night sharing a collective sigh of relief, as polling outlets all over the country began to call the second and final run-off election in favor of Lula.

Teen Lula Supporter, Rafaelly celebrates in the Rio Vermelho neighborhood of Salvador Bahia

Election officials said that Worker’s Party candidate, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula), narrowly defeated his far-right opponent to win the presidency of the country on Sunday. 

In a closely contested race, the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, and the previous president, who was elected to a third term, were neck and neck. However, the former president prevailed with 50.83% of the vote to his rival’s 49.17%, according to the election officials who pronounced him the winner.

This outcome makes Bolsonaro the first president in Brazilian history to fail reelection. The Brazilian far-right virtually mimicked the rhetoric of MAGA throughout his tenure as president and during his reelection campaign. Now, everyone is watching Bolsonaro to see if he would accept the results.

This victory also signals a message to the West as the seven largest nations in Latin America are now under Leftist leadership. As soon as I hit the streets, I came across a young woman (Risya) and her daughter (Rafaelly) who wanted to share their thoughts on the victory.

Lula, who was president from 2003-2010, campaigned on the promise to restore the progressive and more prosperous Brazil that took millions of Brazilians out of poverty. He will face relentless opposition from the mostly conservative Congress.

Bolsonaro has not conceded yet. Many are concerned that he will continue to use the MAGA strategy and rally his base with claims of alleged electoral manipulation.

Bolsonaro’s presidency has been defined by hate speech, the corruption of democratic institutions, a globally criticized handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the worst deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in 15 years.

Unsurprisingly, he has built a loyal following by defending conservative values and portraying himself as a shield against leftist policies that he claims violate personal liberties and cause economic turmoil.

He’s back!

During his tenure from 2003 to 2010, Lula created a huge social welfare program that assisted in bringing tens of millions of people into the middle class and presided over an economic boom. When he departed office, Lula had a popularity rating of more than 80%, earning the title of “the most popular politician on Earth” from then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

He is also remembered for his administration’s involvement in a widespread corruption scandal. Lula was jailed in 2018, preventing him from competing against Bolsonaro, who at the time was a fringe lawmaker and vocal supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

He was imprisoned for 580 days for money laundering and corruption, but his convictions were eventually overturned by Brazil’s highest court, which determined the trial judge had been biased and had worked with the prosecution.

Lula Supporter gather to celebrate the presidential victory. Image by Sed Miles

This made it possible for Lula to make a sixth attempt to win the country’s top office. Da Silva acknowledged the divided nature of the electorate and called for national unity during a victory rally in Sao Paulo last night. But not before bragging about his comeback game- going from a political near-death experience, to the top job.

During the speech, Lula said, “They tried to bury me alive, but I’m still alive. Today, we declare to the world that Brazil has returned.”

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