After a bitter election campaign, left-wing ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva narrowly won the presidential election in Brazil. The former head of state received 50.90 percent of the votes in the runoff, as announced by the electoral office in Brasília. The right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro received 49.10 percent. According to the authorities, reversing the result was mathematically impossible.
Former trade unionist Lula ruled the largest country in Latin America, with 210 million people, from early 2003 to late 2010. He is Brazil's first democratically elected president to serve a third term. In addition to the head of state, governors were also elected in a dozen states on Sunday.
Lula posted a picture of the Brazilian flag holding a hand on Twitter. Above it was "Democracy." Thousands of supporters of the Labor Party (PT) candidate celebrated Lula's victory on the boulevard Avenida Paulista in the metropolis of São Paulo.
French President Emmanuel Macron immediately congratulated Lula on the election. "A new chapter in the history of Brazil is being opened," he wrote on Twitter. "We will join forces to face the many common challenges and renew the bond of friendship between our two countries." In recent years, Macron had clashed with Brazilian President Bolsonaro, especially on international environmental policy. The German Ambassador Heiko Thoms also congratulated Lula via Twitter.
Will Bolsonaro acknowledge the result?
The presidential election has extremely divided Latin America's largest economy. The already fierce election campaign had become increasingly dirty in the final sprint. Brazilians have been inundated with a flood of misinformation, especially on social media and Whatsapp groups. The television debates, in which Lula and Bolsonaro made accusations against each other, seemed downright civilized.
Lula is considered highly controversial
Many supporters of the 77-year-old associate Lula with Brazil's golden age, when the economy boomed due to high commodity prices and the government lifted millions of people out of abject poverty with the help of social programs. For his opponents, however, Lula is responsible for corruption and nepotism.
Bolsonaro's supporters, on the other hand, see their head of state as a defender of traditional family values and economic freedom and as a bulwark against the alleged threat of communism. However, he also alienated many people with his sometimes vulgar statements against women, homosexuals and indigenous people. With his blockade on climate protection, his idiosyncratic corona policy and his attacks on democratic institutions such as the Supreme Court, he isolating Brazil more and more on the world stage.
The election in Brazil is also of international importance. As a huge carbon reservoir, the Amazon region plays an important role in the fight against global climate change. In addition, Brazil is a potentially important trading partner with its enormous natural resources, high proportion of green energy and large agricultural economy.