Lula defeats Bolsonaro in Brazil


(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Leftist former President Luiz de Silva, better known as Lula (left), defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro (right) in Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday.

Patrick Kane, World News Editor

On Oct. 30, Brazil held the second round of its presidential election. For the first time since the county’s democratization in 1985, an incumbent president has been defeated, as far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has been defeated by leftist former President Luiz da Silva, better known as Lula, 51% to 49%.

Lula previously served as president from 2003 to 2010 where he saw high approval ratings. In 2018, however, he was sentenced to prison for corruption. He was later released and his prosecution was voided after it was reported that there was bias in the case on behalf of Bolsonaro-supporting prosecutors, who intended to derail Lula and his Worker’s Party’s chances in the 2018 presidential election.

In contrast, Bolsonaro’s tenure as president proved to be extremely controversial, in spite of the loyal, almost fanatical support he had from his base. As the head of Brazil’s far-right Liberal Party, Bolsonaro was elected in a wave of anti-establishment fervor. However, his history of misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic statements, combined with his horrid COVID-19 response and Amazon Rainforest policies, finally took its electoral toll. On the day of the election, Bolsonaro was accused of voter suppression when police departments that supported him blocked off roads and highways in Lula-supporting areas.

Many of Bolsonaro’s devoted supporters are calling his defeat fraudulent. These sentiments play into fears many had before the election that Bolsonaro would refuse to accept the results and possibly even attempt a coup.

Nevertheless, Lula declared victory and was congratulated by many across the globe. President Joe Biden remarked, “I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead, “ to which Lula responded in kind.

Bolsonaro has not yet conceded, but officials in his administration have stated that he does not intend to challenge the results of the election, elevating some initial fears from the international community.