President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil was narrowly defeated by leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a runoff election, but the incumbent far-right candidate refused to acknowledge loss on Sunday night, sparking concerns that he would challenge the outcome.
With 50.9% of the vote against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) proclaimed Lula the winner and the next president. The inauguration of 77-year-old Lula is set for January 1. It was a surprising victory for the left-leaning ex-president and a crushing defeat for Bolsonaro, who became the first incumbent president of Brazil to lose an election.
Tens of thousands of ecstatic fans cheered Lula’s triumph on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo. “So far, Bolsonaro has not contacted me to accept my victory, and I don’t know if he will call or if he will recognise my victory,” Lula said. According to a source in the Bolsonaro campaign, the president won’t address the public until Monday. An inquiry for comment was not answered by the Bolsonaro campaign.
Last year, Bolsonaro contemplated openly rejecting the election results and made erroneous assertions that Brazil’s electronic voting system was susceptible to fraud. In an apparent response to the results, one close Bolsonaro ally, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, declared on Twitter, “I PROMISE you, I will be the greatest opposition that Lula has ever dreamt.”
The week ahead could be tumultuous for the financial markets.
investors assessing rumours regarding Lula’s cabinet and the possibility that Bolsonaro might contest the outcomes. The vote was a rebuke to Bolsonaro’s fiery far-right populism, who came from Congress’ back benches to form a radical conservative coalition but lost popularity as Brazil saw one of the highest death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic.
President of the United States Joe Biden added his voice to those of European and Latin American leaders in congratulating Lula on his victory in “free, fair, and legitimate elections.” The election on Sunday, according to international election monitors, was successfully run. One witness told Reuters that when military auditors tested the voting system for integrity, they found no faults.
According to the highway operator, four truck drivers thought to be Bolsonaro supporters on Sunday shut down a major grain-producing state route in Mato Grosso. In one internet video, a man said that truckers intended to obstruct the nation’s main thoroughfares and demand a military takeover to stop Lula from becoming president.
A PINK TIDE IS RISE
After historic leftist victories in Colombia and Chile’s elections, Lula’s victory solidifies a new “pink tide” in Latin America and echoes a regional political change that propelled Lula to international prominence two decades earlier.
He has vowed to reinstate the state-driven economic growth and social programmes that, during his two years as president from 2003 to 2010, helped millions of people escape poverty. He also vows to make Brazil a leader in international climate negotiations and stop the devastation of the Amazon rainforest, which is at a 15-year high. Rio de Janeiro doctor Ana Valeria Doria, 60, said, “These were four years of hostility and the denial of science. “Lula’s task of resolving the conflict in this nation won’t be simple. But right now, everything is pure joy.”
Lula, a former union leader who was born into poverty, organised strikes in the 1970s against Brazil’s military regime. A commodity-driven economic boom characterised his two terms in office as president, and he left with a record level of support. However, his Workers Party was eventually tarnished by a severe recession and a corruption scandal that set new records and resulted in a 19-month prison sentence for bribery charges that were later reversed by the Supreme Court last year.