SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated President Jair Bolsonaro in a run-off election, but the far-right president’s refusal to concede defeat on Monday morning raised fears he may contest the election.
Tens of thousands of supporters lined the streets of Sao Paulo to celebrate the dramatic comeback of the 77-year-old former ironworker, who was impeached after serving two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. .
Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian president to lose a presidential election, and Lula has promised to continue his legacy, including anti-gun policies and lax protection of the Amazon rainforest.
Lula, who called it a fight for democracy after his opponent made baseless claims that the electoral system could be rigged, celebrated his “resurrection” by calling his victory a sign that Brazilians “want more, not less, democracy.” .” He promised to unite the deeply divided country.
“I will hold power for 215 million Brazilians, not just for those who voted for me,” Lula said at his campaign headquarters. “There are no two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said Lula won 50.9 percent of the vote, while Bolsonaro won 49.1 percent. Lula will be sworn in on the 1st of next month.
The result in Latin America’s largest nation means the left will govern every major economy in the region after a string of electoral successes in recent years from Mexico to Argentina.
A Bolsonaro campaign source told Reuters the president would not make a public statement until Monday. The Bolsonaro campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
“So far, Bolsonaro has not called me to recognize my victory and I don’t know if he will or if he will,” Lula told supporters on São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue.
In contrast to Bolsonaro’s silence, Lula received congratulations from foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Biden congratulated Lula on her victory in a “free, fair and credible election,” joining a chorus of praise from European and Latin American leaders.
Markets braced for a volatile week, with Brazil’s real currency and international listings of Brazilian stocks lower as investors weighed speculation about Lula’s cabinet and the risk of uncertainty over Bolsonaro’s outcome.
In an apparent nod to the result, lawmaker Carla Zambelli, one of Bolsonaro’s closest allies, wrote on Twitter: “I promise you, I will be the greatest opposition Lula could ever imagine.”
The vote rebuked the far-right populism of Bolsonaro, who has secured the backbenches in Congress to form a conservative coalition, but has lost support as Brazil has been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
International election observers said Sunday’s election was effective. One observer told Reuters that military auditors had found no flaws in their integrity checks of the voting system.
On Sunday, truck drivers believed to be Bolsonaro supporters blocked highways in four places in the state of Mato Grosso, a major grain producer, the highway operator said.
In a video circulating online, a man said the truckers were blocking a major highway and calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office.
SUPPORTING PINK TIDE
Lula’s victory cemented a new “pink tide” in Latin America after sweeping leftist victories in elections in Colombia and Chile, echoing the region’s political transformation 20 years ago that introduced Lula to the world stage.
During his two terms as president, from 2003 to 2010, he promised to return to the economic growth and social policies that helped lift millions out of poverty. He also pledged to fight deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, which has reached a 15-year high. Making Brazil a leader in global climate talks.
Ana Valeria Doria, a 60-year-old doctor from Rio de Janeiro, celebrated with a drink: “It’s been four years of hatred and denial of science.” “It won’t be easy for Lula to manage the division in this country. But for now, it’s pure bliss.” A former union leader born into poverty, Lula’s two-term presidency was marked by a boom in the commodity economy, and he left office with the highest profile.
But his Workers’ Party later fell into deep trouble, and he was jailed for 19 months on corruption charges and overturned by the Supreme Court last year on record corruption charges.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Ricardo Brito in Brasilia, Brian Ellsworth and Lisandra Paraguasu in São Paulo; Written and directed by Frank Jack Daniel, Brad Haynes, Lincoln Feast, Nick McPhee and Angus McSwan.
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