Leftist Lula elected Brazil's new President
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva returns to Brazil's highest office in an incredible political comeback.
Brazilian President-elect Lula da Silva assures that his country has returned to the international arena and will no longer be a "pariah".
Lula won Brazil's presidential elections, urging "peace and unity" after defeating far-right Jair Bolsonaro in a contentious runoff election on Sunday. Bolsonaro has not yet conceded loss, but leftist da Silva has concluded a historic political comeback.
The victory represents a stunning turnaround for leftist icon Lula, who returned for an unprecedented third term at 77 after leaving office in 2010 as the most popular President in Brazilian history.
"This country needs peace and unity," Lula said to loud cheers in a victory speech in Sao Paulo.
"The challenge is immense," he said of the job ahead of him, citing a hunger crisis, the economy, bitter political division, and deforestation in the Amazon.
Later, in front of a crammed audience of hundreds of thousands of supporters wearing red Workers' Party clothing, he declared, "Democracy is back."
Bolsonaro's overwhelming silence
Bolsonaro, 67, was silent in the hours after the result was declared.
After months of claiming — without providing any evidence — that Brazil's electronic voting system is plagued by fraud and that the courts, media, and other institutions had conspired against his far-right movement, all eyes will now be on how Bolsonaro and his supporters will respond to the outcome.
"Anywhere in the world, the losing president would already have called to admit defeat. He hasn't called yet, I don't know if he will call and concede," Lula told the massive crowd.
Electoral officials proclaimed Lula the winner with 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro's 49.1%.
The virulent hardline conservative known as "Tropical Trump," Bolsonaro, lost the election.
While Bolsonaro remained silent, several of his most important allies publicly endorsed the results. Arthur Lira, the speaker of the lower house of Congress, said it was time to "extend a hand to our adversaries, debate, and build bridges."
Lula supporters around the country began celebrations Sunday evening.
"We've had four years of a genocidal, hateful government," said Lula voter Maria Clara, a 26-year-old student, at a victory party in downtown Rio.
BRAZIL WINS— Lipher ⭐1️⃣3️⃣ (@Lipher_) October 31, 2022
LULA IS PRESIDENT ⭐❤️🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/HuK6UibDyZ
"Today democracy won, and the possibility of dreaming of a better country again."
Lula discussed racial and gender equality in his victory speech, as well as the pressing need to address the food crisis afflicting 33.1 million Brazilians.
"Today we tell the world that Brazil is back," he said, adding that the country is "ready to reclaim its place in the fight against the climate crisis, especially the Amazon."
He vowed to "fight for zero deforestation."
Lula's win is "one of the biggest comebacks in modern political history," tweeted Brian Winter, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarter.
It’s Lula, in one of the biggest comebacks in modern political history. Two years ago he was in prison. Now he’ll get a chance to repeat the magic of his 1st presidency in 2000s — but with a much more difficult global economy, and a VERY divided Brazil he won by only about 1 pt— Brian Winter (@BrazilBrian) October 30, 2022