Lula wins Brazil election in political resurrection for leftist

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated President Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff election, but the far-right incumbent refused to concede defeat until Monday morning, raising concerns which may contradict the result.

Tens of thousands of jubilant supporters took to the streets of Sao Paulo to celebrate the stunning return of the 77-year-old former metalworker, who was jailed on corruption convictions that were later overturned after his two previous terms as president from 2003 to 2010. .

Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian president to lose a presidential election, and Lula has vowed to undo his legacy, including pro-gun policies and poor protection of the Amazon rainforest.

In a victory speech he called his “resurrection,” Lula, who cast the race as a battle for democracy after his rival made baseless allegations of electoral fraud, called the election a sign that Brazilians “They want more democracy, not less.” He promised to unite a deeply divided country.

“I will govern for 215 million Brazilians and not just for those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said Lula won 50.9 percent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for January 1.

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Brazilian elections Lula won the Brazilian elections

The result in Latin America’s largest country means the left will rule all of the region’s major economies after a string of electoral successes from Mexico to Argentina in recent years.

A source in Bolsonaro’s campaign told Reuters the president would not make a public statement until Monday. Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“So far, Bolsonaro has not called me to recognize my victory and I don’t know if he will call or if he will recognize my victory,” Lula told supporters on Sao Paulo’s Paulista Avenue.

In contrast to Bolsonaro’s silence, foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz and French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Lula.

Biden congratulated Lula on winning a “free, fair and credible election” and joined a group of compliments from European and Latin American leaders.

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Markets braced for a volatile week ahead, with Brazil’s real currency and international stock indexes falling as investors weighed speculation about Lula’s cabinet and the risk of results challenging Bolsonaro.

In an apparent reference to the results, a close Bolsonaro ally, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, tweeted: “I promise you, I will be the biggest opposition Lula has ever imagined.”

The vote was a rebuke to the fiery far-right populism of Bolsonaro, who emerged from behind a congressional seat to build a conservative coalition but lost support as Brazil suffered one of the worst death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic.

International election observers said Sunday’s election was well-run. One observer told Reuters that military auditors had found no flaws in their proper tests of the voting system.

Truck drivers believed to be Bolsonaro supporters blocked a highway at four points in Mato Grosso state, a major grain producer, on Sunday, the highway operator said.

In one video that went viral, a man said truckers planned to block major highways and called for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office.

Rising pink tide

Lula’s victory cements a new “Pink Gang” in Latin America, following prominent leftist victories in elections in Colombia and Chile, echoing the regional political shift two decades ago that launched Lula onto the world stage.

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He has promised a return to the state-led economic growth and social policies that helped lift millions of people out of poverty during his two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. and make Brazil a leader in global climate negotiations.

“These were four years of hatred, denial of science,” said Ana Valeria Doria, 60, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro who celebrated with a drink. It will not be easy for Lula to manage divisions in this country. But right now it’s pure bliss. A former union leader born into poverty, Lula’s two-term presidency was marked by a commodity-driven economic boom, and he left office with unprecedented popularity.

However, his Labor Party was later hit by a deep recession and an unprecedented corruption scandal that saw him jailed for 19 months on bribery convictions, which were overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

Reporting by Anthony Bodel and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth and Lisandra Paraguaso in Sao Paulo. Written by Frank Jack Daniel, edited by Brad Haynes, Lincoln Fast, Nick McPhee and Angus McSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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