On Sunday, the incumbent president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was ousted by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in an extremely close runoff election. This victory marked a dramatic return for the socialist leader.
When 99.1% of voting machines were counted, Lula had received 50.8% of the votes, while Bolsonaro had received 49.2% of the ballots.
According to the governing body of the elections, the Supreme Electoral Court, Lula’s victory was a mathematical certainty.
Now that the vote has been cast, all eyes are on Bolsonaro to see if he will accept the outcome. His loss brought an end to the most conservative administration that the country has seen in years.
It is a startling return to power for Lula, who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 until 2010, during the country’s commodity-driven economic boom. Lula is currently 77 years old.
But corruption scandals have harmed the credibility of his Workers Party, and Lula was also imprisoned for 19 months on bribery convictions, which were reversed by the Supreme Court last year. Lula’s convictions were overturned last year.
In the meantime, Bolsonaro made history when he became the first president who was already in office to lose his bid to stay in office since Brazil became a democracy in 1985.
US President Joe Biden congratulated Lula for winning the “free, fair and credible” presidential election against Bolsonaro.
Brazilians React to Lula’s Victory
The conclusion of the presidential election, which saw Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva emerge victorious, has resulted in a mixture of jubilation and melancholy across Brazil. The streets of the major cities are always filled with people shouting from their apartment windows, swarms of cars and motorcycles, the sound of horns, and flags flapping in the wind. On the one hand, you have the supporters of the former trade unionist crying tears of joy, and on the other hand, you have the supporters of Jair Bolsonaro being silent out of disappointment. The most polarised elections in the country’s history are reflected in the attitudes of its residents, who are divided by opposing fans just like in a national football final. This is because the country has been split in half. Voters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the second largest city in the South American country, went to the beach to celebrate the election results, filling Copacabana’s neighbourhood with jubilation.
The party of Lula has accused the federal police of trying to restrict voter turnout
Members of the political party led by Lula da Silva, known as the PT, have petitioned the Ministry of Justice to take action on what they allege are attempts by law enforcement agencies to systematically obstruct voters who favour the PT and prevent them from casting their ballots.
Lula expressed his disapproval of the events in the region’s northeast on his Telegram channel.
The concerns voiced by activists on the ground and various members of the PT were mirrored by the nongovernmental organisation Human Rights Watch. The group urged the relevant authorities in the police force to comply with a judgement issued by the highest court in the land, which prohibits any and all police operations that could make it more difficult for voters to get to the polls.
Just one and a half hours before the polls were shut, the chief of the Superior Electoral Court, Alexandre de Moraes, responded to the claims. Moraes stated during a press conference that the decision to terminate these operations was made to prevent voters’ delay.
However, he also stated that the actions in question did not result in voter suppression. Moraes also rejected a plea to keep polling places open, noting that no bus had been turned around and that everyone could cast their vote.
In recent months, former President Lula da Silva, who served two terms as president and was incarcerated for 18 months on a corruption conviction that was later overturned, had maintained a comfortable lead in opinion polls.
But Bolsonaro did much better than anyone thought he would in the first round of voting on October 2. He only got 43.2% of the vote, while Lula got 48.43% of the vote.
The last survey of voters’ preferences, which the Datafolha institute conducted on Saturday, gave da Silva a lead of 52 per cent of the vote, making him the slight favourite to win.
Bolsonaro’s supporters planned to hold a “Victory Party” while the votes were being counted
About 120 million people are expected to use electronic voting machines to cast their ballots. Bolsonaro has cast doubt on these machines recently, but he hasn’t shown any proof.
Bolsonaro’s supporters had already planned a “Victory Party” to be held in the centre of the capital city, Brasilia, on Sunday while the votes were counted.
Bolsonaro promised on Friday that he would accept the results of the election. He said, “Whoever gets the most votes wins.”
But some people were worried about what would happen.