31 October 2022, The Tablet

Lula wins historic victory in Brazil

Lula has promised to govern for all Brazilians.  “There are not two Brazils,” he said on Sunday night. 

Lula wins historic victory in Brazil

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, winner of the election in Brazil, kisses the hand of a child during a march in Belo Horizonte.
CNS photo/Washington Alves, Reuters

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, generally known as Lula, won an historic victory in the second round of the Brazilian presidential elections on Sunday 30 October, defeating the current president, Jair Bolsonaro, by 50.9 per cent to 49.1 per cent.  While his victory was very close, Lula is the first candidate to win more than 60 million votes and the first president to be elected for a third term.  Bolsonaro, on the other hand, is the first president in office not to win a second term since re-election became possible.

Foreign leaders were quick to congratulate Lula.  US president Joe Biden said he had won in “free, fair and credible elections”.  Congratulations also came from Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron in France and the centre-left leaders of Colombia and Chile, Gustavo Petro and Gabriel Boric.  “Viva Lula!” Petro tweeted.

Lula has promised to govern for all Brazilians.  “There are not two Brazils,” he said on Sunday night.  “It’s time to lay down the weapons. This is not my victory or that of the PT (Workers’ Party), not of the parties that supported me in this campaign.  It is the victory of a huge democratic movement that formed, above political parties, personal interests and ideologies, to make democracy victorious.” Lula also promised to protect the Amazon rainforest:  “We will fight for zero deforestation in the Amazon … Brazil and the planet need the Amazon alive.”

The defeated current president did not concede defeat or congratulate his victorious rival. He reportedly had refused to speak to close collaborators. Pentecostal church leaders who had played an important part in his campaign also said that they had not spoken to him, and one described him as “inaccessible”. Pastor and senator-elect Damares Alves said in a statement that Bolsonaro “will leave the presidency with his head held high”. The president of Brazil’s Chamber of deputies, Arthur Lyra, said: “The will of the majority demonstrated by the voting must never be challenged, and we shall go forward to build a sovereign country that is just and has fewer inequalities.”

In a video-message issued after the announcement of the result, the president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference, Archbishop Walmor Oliveira, called on Brazilians to “abandon the feelings that have been contaminating the electoral process, dividing families and breaking friendships”. It is, he said, “an invitation to examine our attitudes, to see if they really are consistent with the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus, which calls on us to be committed to love for our sisters and brothers, to non-violence and to tireless service of the poor and excluded”.

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