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Brazil’s Lula da Silva wins a fierce second round of presidential elections

Brazil’s Lula da Silva wins a fierce second round of presidential elections



CNN

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is set to become the next president of Brazil.

The leftist former president, widely known as “Lula”, won 50.83% of the vote, with over 98% of the votes counted in Sunday’s hotly contested second round election.

It was a tough race, and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro was denied a second term as he garnered 49.17% of the vote.

The two candidates previously faced off in the first round of voting on October 2, but neither received more than half of the vote, forcing Sunday’s second round of votingwhich became a referendum on two distinctly different visions for Brazil.

More than 156 million people were eligible to vote in this year’s elections. The candidates themselves voted early Sunday, with Lula voting at a public school in the Sao Paulo metro area and Bolsonaro voting in Rio de Janeiro early Sunday morning.

Lula voted on Sunday morning.  He hopes that the political comeback will end with a victory in the second round.

Wearing a yellow and green T-shirt in the color of the Brazilian flag, Bolsonaro said: “God willing, we will win later today.” Or better yet, Brazil will win,” as he voted at a polling station in the city’s Marechal Hermes district.

Supporters of Lula da Silva gathered in Sao Paulo’s Avenida Paulista on Sunday night after the polls closed. The mood was celebratory even before the results were announced, with street vendors selling beer and food.

The election was held amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil. The country is currently struggling with high inflation, limited growth and rising poverty.

A supporter of Lula da Silva waves a flag on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

Both candidates have used the election to attack each other at every turn, with growing anger clouding the polls and infighting among their supporters leaving many voters fearful of what’s to come. Voters in Sao Paulo told CNN they want to end this election season as soon as possible so the country can move on.

Although there were no reports of political violence on Sunday, Lula da Silva’s allies accused police of blocking buses and cars carrying Lula voters from getting to polling stations. However, the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), which oversees Brazil’s elections, said no one was prevented from voting and refused to extend the voting period, Reuters reports. The Federal Highway Police said it complied with court orders, it added.

Towels with pictures of both presidential candidates were hung nearby on Av Paulista in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

Lula da Silva served two terms as president, from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2011, where he led the country through a commodity boom that helped fund massive welfare programs and lifted millions out of poverty.

He left office with a 90% approval rating – a record that was tarnished, however, by Brazil’s biggest corruption probe, dubbed “Operation Car Wash”, which led to charges against hundreds of high-ranking politicians and businessmen across Latin America. He was convicted of corruption and money laundering in 2017, but a court overturned his conviction in March 2021, paving the way for his political recovery.

Bolsonaro ran for president in 2018 with the conservative Liberal Party, campaigning as a political outsider and anti-corruption candidate, and earning the nickname “Trump the Tropical.” A divisive figure, Bolsonaro has become known for his bombastic statements and conservative agenda, which is supported by key evangelical leaders in the country.

But poverty has risen during his presidency and his popularity level has been hit by his handling of the pandemic, which he dismissed as a “little flu” before the virus killed more than 680,000 people in the country.

Environmentalists have warned that the future of the rainforest could be at stake in these elections. Bolsonaro’s government has become known for its support for the ruthless exploitation of land in the Amazon, which has led to record figures of deforestation.



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