Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has won the 2022 Brazil presidential elections, and is set to return for his third term in office.
A former metalworker born to illiterate farm hands, Lula has been the most central figure in Brazilian politics for four decades, since leading labor union strikes against a military dictatorship in the 1980s and forming the leftist Workers Party.
The 76-year-old politician’s win represents the return of the left into power in Brazil, and concludes a triumphant personal comeback for Lula da Silva, after a series of corruption allegations lead to his imprisonment for 580 days.
The sentences were later annulled by the Supreme Court, clearing his path to run for reelection.
Lula called his victory over far-right President Jair Bolsonaro by a tight margin in a runoff on Sunday a “resurrection” after he was jailed in Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal following his two-term 2003-2010 presidency.
“They tried to bury me alive and I’m here to govern this country,” he said in a speech at his campaign headquarters on Sunday night, with his gravelly voice hoarse from months on the campaign trail.
“Starting on January 1, 2023, I will govern for the 215 million Brazilians, not just the ones who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation,” Lula da Silva also said.
Lula has vowed to undo Bolsonaro’s legacy, including pro-gun policies and weakened environmental protections in the Amazon rainforest, which have left Latin America’s largest nation increasingly isolated on the global stage.
He will take the reins of a country plagued by gross inequality that is still struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Approximately 9.6 million people fell under the poverty line between 2019 and 2021, and literacy and school attendance rates have fallen. He will also be faced with a deeply fractured nation and urgent environmental issues, including rampant deforestation in the Amazon.4