Brazil Runoff Election Ends With Small Lula Win

Brazil Runoff Election Ends With Small Lula Win

Brazil Runoff Election Ends With Small Lula Win

The presidential runoff election was held on Sunday in Brazil, and the results were among the narrowest seen. With only two candidates on the ballot – former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (popularly known as “Lula”) and current president Jair Bolsonaro – the goal for both candidates was to get over 50 percent of the vote.

As of Sunday evening, Lula held the edge with 50.9 percent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent, and began to declare victory.

With 99.9% of the votes tallied in the runoff vote, da Silva had 50.9% and Bolsonaro 49.1%, and the election authority said da Silva’s victory was a mathematical certainty. At about 10 p.m. local time, three hours after the results were in, the lights went out in the presidential palace and Bolsonaro had not conceded nor reacted in any way.”

Before the vote, Bolsonaro’s campaign had made repeated — unproven — claims of possible electoral manipulation, raising fears that he would not accept defeat and would challenge the results if he lost.”

The high-stakes election was a stunning reversal for da Silva, 77, whose imprisonment for corruption sidelined him from the 2018 election that brought Bolsonaro, a defender of conservative social values, to power.”

“Today the only winner is the Brazilian people,” da Silva said in a speech at a hotel in downtown Sao Paulo. “This isn’t a victory of mine or the Workers’ Party, nor the parties that supported me in campaign. It’s the victory of a democratic movement that formed above political parties, personal interests and ideologies so that democracy came out victorious.”

This election result is very much a mixed bag for Brazil and for the international community at large, although Joe Biden was apparently quick to congratulate Lula, his fellow corrupt leftist, on his win.

President Biden on Sunday congratulated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his victory in Brazil’s presidential election, beating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who was backed by former President Donald Trump.”

Bolsonaro, like Trump, has sowed doubt about the integrity of his country’s election system. Biden called Brazil’s election “free, fair, and credible” in his statement Sunday.”

“I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,” Biden said of Lula.”

Notice in the coverage how many times Donald Trump must be mentioned. Bolsonaro’s biggest sin, according to the media, was that he was conservative and was supported by Donald Trump. THE HORROR. But as we all know, Lula, who has already served two terms as Brazil’s president (the Constitution of Brazil states that a president can only serve two consecutive terms, and then must wait out at least one term before running again), is only able to run for president after being convicted on corruption charges and having that sentence vacated on a technicality. Glenn Greenwald, who claims responsibility for pointing out the judge’s corruption and thus paving the way for Lula’s sentence to be tossed, also points out that this is not a clear victory for the left in Brazil.

So, how did Bolsonaro lose by the slimmest of margins? Well, there were initially four candidates on the ballot during the first election earlier this month. Both the other candidates publicly supported Lula during the runoff election, which certainly helped. Another factor has to be COVID fatigue. Bolsonaro has been president of Brazil for the entirety of the COVID pandemic, which means that in the eyes of the public, he owns the fallout. At one point, President Trump even had a specific travel ban during the early days of the pandemic against Brazil. Even though Bolsonaro’s record on COVID is much more comparable to Joe Biden’s than Donald Trump’s, being the president means that you are where the buck stops. The election became about how people felt about Bolsonaro, much like the 2020 election was about how people felt about Donald Trump, and how the upcoming midterms will be about how people feel about Joe Biden. Now, the end result being so much tighter than anticipated means, as Greenwald says, that Lula will have to govern more from the center than from the left. But even though he pledged to run on an anti-corruption platform, it now remains to be seen if he follows through on those promises to root out any further corruption problems. If he doesn’t, then the people will vote accordingly in another four years – or perhaps press for impeachment, the way they did with his former handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff.

While the Workers’ Party can claim a presidential victory, it is a very narrow win in a very politically divided Brazil. Will the country end up regretting giving Lula a third term as president? We will soon find out.

Featured image via gleidiconrodrigues on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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