Brazil: Lula Defeats Bolsonaro, Wins Third Presidential Term

On Sunday, leftist politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected to become the next president of Brazil. He garnered around 51% of the vote to defeat right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who had been seeking a second term in the runoff vote.

Brazil: Lula Defeats Bolsonaro, Wins Third Presidential Term
Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via Time]

Facts

  • On Sunday, leftist politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected to become the next president of Brazil. He garnered around 51% of the vote to defeat right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who had been seeking a second term in the runoff vote.
  • Lula will become the oldest president in Brazilian history when he takes office in Jan. 2023. The new year will also see Lula begin his third term in the position he occupied between 2003 and 2010.
  • Bolsonaro — who last week became the first sitting president in Brazil to lose a re-election bid — is yet to comment on the results. Two of his close allies — finance minister Paulo Guedes and the president of the lower house Arthur Lira — seemed to acknowledge the defeat. World leaders, including US Pres. Joe Biden, had already congratulated Lula on his victory as of Sunday.
  • The result marks a political comeback for the former president, who was imprisoned in 2018 on charges of corruption and money laundering. His conviction was annulled by Brazil's top court in 2021, clearing him to run for president again.
  • Lula's victory comes as voters in Latin America have been punishing right-wing incumbents in charge during the COVID pandemic. Leftist candidates have also been elected in Chile, Colombia, and Peru over the past 18 months.
  • The new president is expected to govern moderately and make concessions in order to build a broader coalition, as Congress is reportedly right-leaning and Lula's left-wing allies represent less than a quarter of seats in the lower house.

Sources: CNN, Folha, NPR Online News, CNBC, Bloomberg, and FT.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by The Guardian. This result represents not only a remarkable comeback for former Pres. Lula — who was sidelined from the 2018 election — but also a comeback for the entire country after the disastrous and polarizing far-right presidency of Bolsonaro. Democracy has won and Brazil has unified in the fight against deforestation, hunger, and racism.
  • Right narrative, as provided by Fox News. Judicial activism harmed Pres. Bolsonaro's campaign by upholding partisan accusations that Brazilian democracy was under threat, and censoring media and the candidate's supporters. Despite significant evidence of his involvement with money laundering and corruption, Brazilian courts played a decisive role in enabling Lula to run as well as helping him to victory.

Predictions