The leftist ‘Lula’ da Silva, elected president of an ultra-polarized Brazil

The leftist Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva, at 99% of the count, won 50.8% of the votes and defeated his opponent, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, who will be the first president not to be re-elected. The narrow result is the latest demonstration of an ultraporalized Brazil. ‘Lula’ will arrive on January 1 at the Planalto Palace for the third time, after having won the 2002 and 2006 elections.

The doors of the Planalto Palace will open, again, to make way for the leftist Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva. The candidate of the Workers’ Party (PT) won the far-right Jair Bolsonaro in the final round of the presidential elections, taking 50.8% of the votes with 99% of the votes counted. His contender, the current president, was left with 49.1% of the votes, in yet another demonstration of the extreme polarization that the country is experiencing.

It was the seventh presidential campaign of the former trade unionist, loaded with crossed accusations and false news. At 77 years old, ‘Lula’ managed to win the favor of a small majority of the more than 117 million valid votes that were cast this Sunday.

The polls predicted it. The latest predictions gave him as the winner with a small margin, but none was right that the difference would be little more than a percentage point. Only 2 million votes prevented Bolsonaro from obtaining a second presidential term.

The far-right began leading the count, after having been scrutinized about 68% of the tables, the left-wing went on to lead the results, a trend that continued until the end.

This Sunday’s is a new milestone in the long political career of ‘Lula’. One that began after an active and recognized journey as a union leader, which he abandoned to form the Workers’ Party, uniting other social and intellectual movements.

A woman casts her vote in the parking lot of a shopping center set up as an electoral college, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 30, 2022.
A woman casts her vote in the parking lot of a shopping center set up as an electoral college, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 30, 2022. REUTERS – LUCAS LANDAU

The leftist first came to the Presidency in 2002 after losing three times in 1998, 1994 and 1990. And he had a second term after winning again in 2006, one that ended four years later with an approval rating of about 80. %.

Now, however, he receives a divided country. And he will have to win back the trust of many Brazilians, which was diluted by corruption charges that landed him in jail in 2017, eliminating his candidacy a year later. Although these accusations were invalidated in 2021, they still weigh on the image of the now president-elect.

With these results, Brazil took a turn from the extreme right to the left, one more country in the region that leans towards said political spectrum after Chile and Colombia did.

A victory after a busy election day

During his first speech as president-elect, ‘Lula’ da Silva promised to govern for all Brazilians. “On this historic October 30, the majority of the Brazilian population made it clear that they want more and not less democracy. They want more and not less social inclusion,” snapped the leftist.

“Today he has a great winner, the people. This is not a conquest of my party or of those who supported me, it is the victory of a movement that was made over political parties, political ideologies”, continued ‘Lula’.

More than 156 million Brazilians were able to vote this Sunday in a day that was marked by accusations against the country’s Highway Police. According to what the PT denounced and Human Rights Watch pointed out, operations would have been carried out in the northeast of the Brazilian territory that hindered the circulation of voters.

Some time later, the director of said section of the Police, Silvinei Vasques, informed the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) that these types of operations had been suspended.

Given the prediction of a short distance between the two candidates, the TSE designed a security plan that sought to protect its personnel and buildings in the event of protests that could turn violent.


After voting in Sao Paulo in the morning hours, the leftist had affirmed: “Today is possibly the most important October 30 of my life and I think it is a very important day for the Brazilian people, because today the people are defining the model of Brazil that he wants, the model of life that he wants”.

In said city, the most populous in the country and an economic engine, the division in the electorate was also felt. Supporters of ‘Lula’ celebrate their candidate’s victory with red flags, chants and with his hand in the shape of an ‘L’, one of the signs of his election campaign.

“Democracy”, Lula celebrates the results

His hand on the Brazilian flag and a short message: “Democracy”. This was the first reaction of ‘Lula’ when he learned of his victory in the presidential elections.

The terse and precise message echoes his calls during the campaign to respect the results. One of their flags that also highlighted the promise to “rebuild” the country after Bolsonaro’s mandate, end hunger and return to prioritizing the poorest.

On the Bolsonarista side, some have already reacted. The president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, an ally of the president, recognized ‘Lula’s victory.

“The Chamber of Deputies congratulates the president-elect,” he assured. And he added: “Brazil gave another demonstration of the vitality of its democracy, of the strength of its institutions and its people.” The former Minister of Justice and close ally of Bolsonaro Sérgio Moro spoke along the same lines, saying: “Democracy is like that. The result of an election cannot exceed the duty of responsibility that we have with Brazil. Let us work for the union of the that we want the good of the country. I will always be on the side of what is right!”

‘Lula’ will take office on January 1st and will have a four-year mandate. The politician has assured that he will not choose to run for re-election in 2026.

The cracks in the Lulista euphoria: the defeat in the governorships

Brazilians not only elected their president, they also elected 12 governors. Sao Paulo, with a population of around 20 million people, passed into Bolsonarist hands. With a difference of more than 10 points, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, of the Republican Party, prevailed over the PT candidate, Fernando Haddad. A major defeat for the elected president.

A similar situation occurred in the southern state of Santa Catarina, where Jorginho Mello, from Bolsonaro’s party, won widely with more than 70% of the vote. He was facing the candidate of the ‘Lula’ party, Décio Lima.

The president’s caucuses took over some states such as Bahia, a state of around 15 million inhabitants, where Jerónimo Rodrígues of the PT won the election against Acm Neto.

In Rio Grande do Sul, the current governor, Eduardo Leite, renewed his mandate for four years. The candidate of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party won with 57% of the votes against the Bolsonarist Onyx Lorenzoni.

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Written by Editor TLN

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