Former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the leftist Worker’s Party, has defeated Jair Bolsonaro to become the country’s next president.
Lula, who held Brazil’s top job from 2003 – 2010, won 50.8 per cent of the vote, with Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right party tailing behind at 49.2 per cent. At the time of writing, 98.8 per cent of the votes have been tallied in the runoff vote, but the election authority has said that Lula’s victory is a mathematical certainty.
Lula has vowed to return the country to the prosperity it saw prior to his 2018 imprisonment over a corruption scandal, which led the way for Bolsonaro’s four years in power.
In his victory speech, Lula outlined some of his proposed policies, including his promise to protect the Amazon rainforest — which faced major deforestation under Bolsonaro’s rule. “We will once again monitor and do surveillance in the Amazon. We will fight every illegal activity,” he said. “At the same time, we will promote sustainable development of communities in the Amazon.”
In anticipation of his inauguration, which is due to take place on January 1, world leaders have congratulated Lula on his win, and professed their hopes for a more democratic future for Brazil.
Newly appointed UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, tweeted: “I look forward to working together on the issues that matter to the UK and Brazil, from growing the global economy to protecting the planet’s natural resources and promoting democratic values.”
There was celebration to be seen around the region too. “Viva Lula,” said Colombia’s leader, Gustavo Petro, while Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, said that Lula’s victory ushered in “a new era in Latin American history… An era of hope and of a future that starts right now.”
Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the victory represented “equality and humanism”. And, Brazil’s former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, took to Twitter to write: “Democracy has won, Brazil has won!”
French President, Emmanuel Macron, also congratulated Lula, saying that he is looking forward to renewing “ties of friendship between their countries”.