Latin America

Brazil Election: Lula wants to be president for everyone

Lula da Silva, the left-wing leader who won the election in Brazil, used unifying statements in his first statement. / Brazil Election

After a bitter election campaign, Brazil’s elected President Lula wants to reconcile the country’s hostile camps. “I will govern for 215 million Brazilians,” he said after narrowly winning the runoff. / Brazil Election

Cheers, fireworks, tears of joy from Lula’s supporters on the Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo – when the official result was finally announced shortly before 8 p.m., there was no stopping them. “Lula means hope, future, respect and peace. Never again Bolsonaro, hate and intolerance,” says student Suely. “I’m so happy, we’re going to get this country back on its feet. It’s enough with all the misery, with poverty and hunger, we need renewal, four more years of Bolsonaro, we couldn’t have endured that.

Jair Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian president not to be re-elected – while Lula is making a remarkable comeback at 77. After an extremely polarized election campaign, he was forgiving in his first speech: “There are not two Brazils, we are one people, one great nation!”

Brazil Election: Requires broad support

It’s time to lay down your arms and unite the country, Lula promised. He benefited from a strong rejection of Bolsonaro. At the same time, he managed to build a broad alliance that reached into the political center. He will need support, the challenges are enormous.

Lula therefore also addressed foreign countries: Brazil is back on the world stage to play a central role again – above all in climate protection, according to Lula. “Let’s prove once again that it’s possible to create wealth without destroying the environment.” Yes, of course he knows that it won’t be easy for him in his third term in office – and not even in the weeks that are still missing before he takes office.

Calls for resistance

For some Brazilians, Lula remains an enemy. “Lula, you thief,” shout Bolsonaro supporters in Rio de Janeiro. After the result became known, there was disbelief and anger, some began to pray, and entrepreneur Andreia Lopes burst into tears. “I don’t want to experience such a terrible economic situation again. If this parasite comes back, everything will go down the drain. Communism will come here, like elsewhere in Latin America!”

Rita de Cassia is convinced that Bolsonaro was robbed of the election victory, but the people will not allow that: “Everyone here will join in if Bolsonaro calls us to do so, I’m sure there is already a plan. Now we have to wait , but I tell you, Lula will not take office, good will triumph over evil.”

Parliament Speaker Artur Lira, a Bolsonaro ally, urged everyone to accept the majority’s decision. However, there was silence on the channels of the president himself. Bolsonaro, who had repeatedly cast doubts on the electoral system in recent weeks and left open whether he would recognize the result, initially did not comment on the evening of the election. The runoff election in Brazil seems to decide whether peace will return to the country is another matter.

Hard TV duel between Bolsonaro and Lula

Congratulations to Lula from all over the world

Reactions to Lula’s success in Brazil have been positive internationally. Congratulations were pouring in from the White House less than 40 minutes after his election victory. Chancellor Scholz relies on close cooperation with Lula.

After Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s election victory in Brazil, politicians worldwide sent congratulations. Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on Twitter that he was looking forward to working together, especially on the issues of trade and climate protection.

Reactions from Europe, the USA and Russia

New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted he was looking forward to working on issues important to Britain and Brazil – such as growing the global economy, protecting the planet’s resources and democratic values.

US President Joe Biden offered his congratulations less than 40 minutes after Lula’s win, followed by French President Emmanuel Macron. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed the desire to revitalize the frozen strategic partnership with Brazil. Congratulations also came from neighboring South American countries.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China is willing to work with Lula to take the joint strategic partnership to a new level.

According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote that the results of the vote had confirmed Lula’s high political authority. “I’m counting on our joint efforts to ensure the further development of constructive Russian-Brazilian cooperation in all directions.”

Brazil and Russia also work together in the Brics Group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Russia sees Brazil as a partner because the country has not joined Western sanctions over Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro recently campaigned primarily for deliveries of diesel and fertilizers from Russia.

Human rights activists call for course corrections

Human Rights Watch called on election-winner Lula to put human rights first and reverse serious setbacks during the Bolsonaro presidency, including on public safety, the environment, women, LGBT and indigenous rights. Bolsonaro was “a catastrophe for human rights at home and abroad,” said the organization’s Americas director, Juanita Goebertus.

Bolsonaro does not recognize defeat for the time being

According to official figures, left-wing politician Lula, who was president from 2003 to 2010, won the runoff on Sunday with 50.9 percent. The 77-year-old is expected to take office on January 1st. The right incumbent Bolsonaro received 49.1 percent.

Bolsonaro didn’t acknowledge his defeat in the first few hours. During the election campaign, he repeatedly cast doubt on the electoral system and indicated that he might not accept the result.

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