By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
BRASILIA (Worthy News) – Brazil’s electoral authority says former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the leftist Worker’s Party has defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to become the country’s next president, a setback for conservatives supporting him.
With 98.8 percent of the votes tallied, da Silva, also known as Lula, had 50.8 percent and Bolsonaro 49.2 percent, and the election authority said da Silva’s victory was a mathematical certainty.
Da Silva — the country’s president from 2003-2010 — promised to restore the country’s more prosperous past, yet faces headwinds in a polarised society.
However, it was a stunning return to power for da Silva, 77, whose 2018 imprisonment over a corruption scandal sidelined him from that year’s election.
It paved the way for then-candidate Bolsonaro’s win and four years of more rightwing politics.
He recently pledged with Hungary to take up the plight of persecuted Christians and for conservative values.
But he was criticized for controversial policies in Brazil’s rainforest. Bolsonaro came to office in 2019, vowing not to allow “one more centimeter” of protected Indigenous reservations in Brazil.
Indigenous Brazilians said the conservative ex-army captain presided over a surge of destruction and fires in the Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest.
The Amazon is the livelihood of many Indigenous peoples. Activists also view the area as a critical resource in the race to curb what they view as global warming, but Bolsonaro has been more skeptical about climate change.
Sunday’s elections were overshadowed by alleged voter suppression amid roadblocks in northeastern Brazil.
Yet despite the controversies, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, was among the first world leaders to congratulate da Silva, saying that his win “opens a new page in the history of Brazil.”
“Together, we will join forces to meet the many common challenges and renew the bond of friendship between our two countries,” he said.
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