Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known popularly as Lula, has won the Presidential election in Brazil, in a second round of voting, toppling former president Jair Bolsonaro by a small margin of 50.9% to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%.
Brazilian President-elect Lula has a powerful reputation among the left-wing politics in Brazil and abroad. He was President of Brazil for two consecutive terms between 2003 and 2010, during which time he came good on his election promises of major reforms, the eradication of hunger and the creation of a caring, self- confident, outward-looking nation, increasing the minimum wage, and providing grants for the poorest families. Lula implemented social reforms which helped millions of people out of poverty and secured his place as a hero for the poor in Brazil. He also improved Brazil’s standing in the world and ended on a budget surplus.
In 2017 Lula became embroiled in a corruption scandal and was sentenced to jail. He insisted that the charges against him were politically motivated, and finally in March 2021 his sentence was annulled by the Supreme Federal Court which ruled that he had not had a fair trial. By this time he had spent 19 months in prison.
Lula also has a strong reputation for climate change. After learning he had won the elections he said, “Brazil is ready to resume its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis, protecting all our biomes, especially the Amazon forest,” a statement which will delight climate activists around the world, particularly in the light of Bolsonaro’s opinions and practices with regard to the rainforest.
According to satellite data from Brazil’s space research agency INPE, Brazil’s September deforestation record under Bolsonaro this year was up 48% on the previous September, hitting a new record.