Lula, elected with less than 51% of the vote, was declared the winner of the second round of the presidential election this night, ahead of the outgoing Jair Bolsonaro. During the campaign, the left-wing president promised a return to economic growth and social policies that had helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty during his first two terms between 2003 and 2011.
End of the suspense. In Brazil, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) said last night that the election was «mathematically played», with Lula having 50.8% of the valid votes against 49.2% for Jair Bolsonaro after the counting of 98.8% of the votes.
Lula’s victory, which begins a third presidential term, marks the rejection of extreme right populism embodied by Jair Bolsonaro. However, it was much more difficult than expected. Supported by a broad right-wing coalition, the outgoing president’s popularity had suffered from his handling of the Covid epidemic, with Brazil posting one of the highest death toll in the world.
Fighting deforestation in the Amazon
Lula promised during the campaign a return to economic growth and social policies that had helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty during her first two mandates between 2003 and 2011. He also pledged to fight deforestation in the Amazon, currently at its highest level in 15 years, and to make Brazil one of the leaders in the fight against climate change. Lula’s third term in office on Sunday will begin in a context marked by an economic crisis, heavy budgetary constraints and a strengthening of the parliamentary opposition, the allies of the beaten forming the main bloc of Congress after the elections of the beginning of the month
A former trade union leader who opposed the military dictatorship in the 1970s, Lula had benefited during his first two mandates from strong economic growth driven by raw materials, of which Brazil is one of the world’s main producers, He left the presidency with record popularity. But the Workers’ Party then saw its image marred by a deep recession and a large-scale corruption scandal that took Lula to prison for 19 months. However, his convictions were finally quashed by the Supreme Court last year. His victory reinforces the political «pink wave» in Latin America, after the recent victories of the left in Colombia and Chile.
Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly expressed suspicions of electoral fraud, and he still has not accepted the election results. The electoral authorities have prepared for a possible challenge, Reuters learned from several sources, including by taking steps to ensure security in the event that its supporters take to the streets. Jair Bolsonaro was to remain in office until 1 January. His defeat was nevertheless recorded by many leaders.
Congratulations from Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden
Emmanuel Macron congratulated Lula on Twitter whose election «opens a new page in the history of Brazil». Biden congratulated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his election as President of Brazil following free, fair and credible elections. He says he is “looking forward to working” with him “to continue cooperation between our two countries”.
Toutes mes félicitations, cher @LulaOficial, pour ton élection qui ouvre une nouvelle page de l’histoire du Brésil. Ensemble, nous allons unir nos forces pour relever les nombreux défis communs et renouer le lien d’amitié entre nos deux pays.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 30, 2022
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also praised the victory of the figure of the American left: The Brazilians have decided. I look forward to working with Lula to strengthen the partnership between our countries, deliver results for Canadians and Brazilians, and advance our shared priorities, such as protecting the environment.”
Les Brésiliens ont tranché. J’ai hâte de travailler avec @LulaOficial à renforcer le partenariat entre nos pays, à obtenir des résultats pour les Canadiens et les Brésiliens et à faire avancer nos priorités communes – comme la protection de l’environnement. Félicitations, Lula!
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 30, 2022
Towards a return of Brazil’s economic alliances
A victory also welcomed by Europe. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was eager to work with him, especially on the “urgent challenges” of climate and free trade. She also mentioned food security as one of the priorities she wants to work on with the future leader.
The draft free trade agreement and the EU the South American countries of Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay), finalized in 2019 but never ratified since then due in particular to concerns about Brazilian environmental policy, Could pick up some colors with Lula’s return to power. Swedish Trade Minister Johan Forssell said Monday in Prague at a 27-day ministerial meeting that the outcome of the Brazilian election opened up “new opportunities” in this regard. “
China has also been enthusiastic about Lula’s accession to the Brazilian presidency. The country congratulated him, saying it wanted to raise the partnership between the two countries to a “higher level”. “We are ready to work with the new Brazilian government led by Mr. Lula to take the China-Brazil strategic partnership to the next level and to better serve the interests of both countries and both peoples,” a spokesperson told the press.Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian.
Source: La Tribune / (With agencies)