The leftist former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, reclaimed the presidency from right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a tight run-off election Sunday that signaled Brazilian’s rejection of far-right values.
Da Silva garnered 50.9% of the run-off vote, beating Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, with more than 99% of ballots tallied in win called by election officials.
Bolsonaro’s loss was the first time a sitting president has failed to win reelection in Brazil since 1985. The conservative leader has yet to concede and spread claims of electronic voting machine fraud — without any evidence — ahead of the election in a move mirroring former US President Donald Trump.
The closely-watched and highly polarized election season was watched worldwide as a litmus test for conservative politics. Brazil adds to the list of Latin American countries — such as Chile, Colombia and Argentina — undergoing a wave of leftist victories.
However, the election was also the closest vote in more than three decades, with just over 2 million votes separating the two candidates. The results illustrate a highly-divided nation with a struggling economy and soaring inflation.
Da Silva’s image has been marred by a corruption scandal that landed him in prison and sidelined him from the 2018 election won by Bolsonaro. The leftist leader previously served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010.
He was able to beat Bolsonaro in a stunning comeback as the incumbent’s popularity soured as he dismantled protections for the Amazon rainforest, allegedly botched the country’s COVID-19 response and 33 million Brazilians are going hungry.
Da Silva will take over the presidency at an inauguration ceremony on Jan. 1.
He will inherit a country whose economy is struggling and people are extremely divided ideologically.
With Post wires.
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