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

Lula Defeats Bolsonaro to Become Brazil’s President: Election Authority
(Left) Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is running for another term, arrives to cast his vote at Vila Militar district in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 30, 2022. (Right) Presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva casts his vote at Escola Estadual Firmino Correia De Araújo in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, on Oct. 30, 2022. (Wagner Meier, Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

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.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to the press in Brasilia on Oct. 2, 2022. (EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to the press in Brasilia on Oct. 2, 2022. (EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)

Bolsonaro, the Social Liberal Party leader who took office in 2019, had pledged to protect the nation from leftist policies and reduce the people’s tax burden. Da Silva’s victory will deny Bolsonaro a second term.

The conservative leader has yet to comment on the election result or concede. He has repeatedly expressed concerns that Brazil’s electronic voting machines are susceptible to fraud.

Bolsonaro said last week that his lawyer would file an appeal against the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE), which dismissed his campaign’s complaint that radio stations had been giving more advertisement spots for his opponent.

In its ruling on Oct. 26, the TSE asked Brazil’s top public prosecutor to investigate the possible intention of the Bolsonaro camp to disrupt the election in its final days.

Bolsonaro’s allies are accusing pollsters of systematic bias against the president as a leading conservative voice, noting that he won nearly 10 percentage points more in the first round of voting on Oct. 2 than polls had forecast during the campaign.

Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 1.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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