Brazil Reelects Left-Wing Former President

Michael Morano
International/U.S. News Editor

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a left-wing former president of Brazil, has returned to the presidency after defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the country’s recent presidential election.

Lula da Silva celebrates with his supporters (Photo courtesy of The Guardian)

In a very close race, Silva, more commonly referred to as Lula, emerged victorious by winning 50.9% of the total votes compared to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. The 77-year-old had been president of Brazil from 2003-2010 and had been sent to prison in 2018 for charges of corruption. He was released after 580 days after his sentence had been annulled, paving the way for his return to the political scene. Lula has already received messages of congratulations from world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and even Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Bolsonaro, who had been endorsed by former US President Trump, had stayed silent about the election for two days before finally allowing the transfer of power to begin, although without stating that he admits defeat. His supporters, however, were not going away without a fight. Thousands of pro-Bolsonaro supporters took to the streets of the country to protest the election by blocking roads, claiming the election was stolen, and even going as far as to demand military intervention, with the Brazilian military showing seemingly no interest in doing so. Bolsonaro himself addressed the protesters, saying that peaceful protests are welcome but destruction is not. Other members of his party and his allies have also reiterated that the election is over and that the transfer of power must take place.

Bolsonaro supporters protest in the streets of Rio de Janeiro (Photo courtesy of AP News)

Lula da Silva now takes over a politically divided country, but this has not stopped him from attempting to acknowledge his opposition and try to mend any tensions. His victory speech emphasized the need for unity, stating that he will “govern 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me…There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.” His previous time in office saw Brazil have an economic boom as he helped thousands of Brazilians out of poverty and ended his presidency with an 80% approval rating. His outlines for the new term include expanding services for the poor, more social welfare payments, a higher minimum wage, and more efforts to protect the Amazon rainforest. His win is also a continuation of a theme of more left-wing leaders being elected in Latin America, with other countries such as Argentina, Colombia, and Chile choosing leftist leaders.


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