SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated President Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff election, but the far-right incumbent did not concede defeat until early Monday morning, raising fears that the result could be contested.
In the year Tens of thousands of cheering supporters lined the streets of Sao Paulo to celebrate the dramatic comeback of the 77-year-old former steelworker, who served time in prison for corruption following his 2003-2010 presidency. .
Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian to lose a presidential election, and Lula has vowed to undo his legacy, including gun policies and poor protection of the Amazon rainforest.
Lula, who has seen the contest as a fight for democracy as his rival says the electoral system is open to fraud, called the election a symbol of his “resurrection” in his victory speech, saying Brazilians “want more democracy.” .” They promised to unite a deeply divided nation.
“I govern for 215 million Brazilians, not just those who voted for me,” Lula said at campaign headquarters. “There are no two Brazils, one country, one people, we are one great nation.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) stated that Lula won 50.9% of the vote; He got 49.1% of the vote from Bolsonaro. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled for January 1.
The results of Latin America’s largest country show that the left governs all major economies in recent years, from Mexico to Argentina, after a series of electoral victories.
A Bolsonaro campaign source told Reuters the president would not make a public comment until Monday. Bolsonaro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
“So far, Bolsonaro has not called me to recognize my victory and I don’t know if he will call or recognize his victory,” Lula told supporters on a street in Sao Paulo’s Paulista.
In contrast to Bolsonaro’s silence, Lula’s congratulations came from foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Biden congratulated Lula on winning “free, fair and credible elections” as European and Latin American leaders joined the chorus of praise.
Markets settled for a volatile week, with Brazil’s real currency and global Brazilian stocks falling as investors weighed down speculation about Lula’s cabinet and the risk of questioning Bolsonaro’s results.
A close Bolsonaro ally, the lawyer Carla Zambelli, spoke clearly of the result, writing on Twitter: “I promise you, I will be the biggest opponent that Lula has in mind.”
The vote was a rebuke to Bolsonaro’s far-right populism, which emerged from the backbenches of Congress to form a conservative coalition, but has lost support as Brazil grapples with one of the deadliest deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
International election observers said Sunday’s election was conducted effectively. An observer told Reuters that military auditors had found no flaws in their integrity tests of the voting system.
Truck drivers believed to be Bolsonaro supporters blocked the highway in four places on Sunday in Mato Grosso state, a major grain producer, the highway operator said.
In a video circulating online, a man said truckers planned to block major highways, calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office.
Pink tide rising
Lula’s victory will fuel a new “pink wave” in Latin America, after significant left-wing victories in elections in Colombia and Chile, echoing the regional political shift that introduced Lula to the world stage two decades ago.
In the year During his two terms as president from 2003 to 2010, he promised to return to state economic growth and social policies to lift millions out of poverty. He also pledged to fight the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, now at a 15-year high. and making Brazil a leader in international climate talks.
“These were four years of hatred, contempt for science,” said Dr. Ana Valeria Doria, who lives in Rio de Janeiro. “It will not be easy for Lula to manage the division in this country. But right now it is pure joy.” A former trade union leader born into poverty, Lula’s two-term presidency saw commodity-based economic growth and he left office with high popularity.
However, his Labor party was overturned by the Supreme Court last year after he was jailed for 19 months for a severe economic downturn and a record-breaking corruption scandal.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth and Lisandra Paraguasu in Sao Paulo; Writing by Frank Jack Daniels, Editing by Brad Haynes, Lincoln Fest, Nick Maffei and Angus McSwan
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