In a rapid political resurrection, leftist politician Lula da Silva won the 2022 Brazilian presidential election. Silva, who previously served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, will succeed far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and bring with him the leftist policies of his Workers’ Party.
Bolsonaro’s loss marks the first time in thirty-four years that a president has failed to win re-election in Brazil. Silva will take over a divided nation; After winning 50.9 percent of the vote, Silva achieved a very slim margin of victory.
With the race being tight to the end, Bolsonaro and his party undermined the Brazilian electoral system when they made several claims of election fraud. Just days before the election, Bolsonaro’s party, the Liberal Party, released a document attacking electoral authorities and describing their supposed ability to manipulate election results. Though thoroughly rejected by the committee and largely ignored, the claims put into question Bolsonaro’s willingness to accept the election results and were a continuation of undemocratic behaviors that Bolsonaro and his party have used in the past. After two days of silence following the election, Bolsonaro released a statement authorizing the transitional process, though he made sure not to concede defeat to Silva.
Silva, on the other hand, describes his win as a political “resurrection.” In 2018, Silva had been imprisoned under a series of corruption scandals, though the Brazilian Supreme Court eventually nullified the charges when they found that Appeals Judge Sergio Moro had colluded with the prosecution. Silva ultimately only served only five hundred eighty days of the sentence. At the time, this killed Silva’s campaign and career, and it also paved the way for Bolsonaro to win the 2018 election and appoint Judge Moro as his justice minister.
With his win, Silva hopes to unify Brazil, affirming, “I will govern for the 215 million Brazilians, not just the ones who voted for me.” Meanwhile, his coalition features a broad front, including members of Brazil’s Social Democratic Party, and a Socialist running mate, Geraldo Alckman, who served as the governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, for several terms. With this broad coalition, Silva received the support of moderate third-place candidate Simone Tibet. He now looks to consolidate Brazil’s fractured political frontier.
With the conclusion of this turbulent election, it remains questionable as to how Bolsonaro will handle the transition and his last few months as president. For Silva, his first few months in office will be crucial as he ushers Brazil into a new political landscape.
Sources: (CNN, Guardian, NY Times, Reuters)