Friday, April 12, 2024

Lula beats Bolsonaro to return as Brazil president

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Brazil – Challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has won the election to become Brazil’s next president by a whisker, defeating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro after a bitterly fought campaign.

According to the country’s election authority, Lula secured 50.8 percent of the vote compared with 49.2 percent for Bolsonaro on Sunday.

“First of all, I’d like to thank all the comrades that are here with me. We had a fight with the machine of the state, not just a candidate, who tried to block us from winning this election. For everyone who went to vote, I want to thank you,” Lula, 77, told a cheering crowd of supporters.

Bolsonaro had been leading throughout the first half of the vote count and, as soon as Lula overtook him, cars in the streets of downtown Sao Paulo began honking their horns.

People in the streets of Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema neighbourhood could be heard shouting, “It turned!”

“He’s the best for the poor, especially in the countryside,” said retired government worker Luiz Carlos Gomes, 65, who hails from Maranhao state in the poor northeast region. “We were always starving before him.”

It was Brazil’s most polarising election since its return to democracy in 1985 after a military dictatorship that Lula, a former union leader, has rallied against and Bolsonaro, a former army captain, invokes with nostalgia.

It remained to be seen if Bolsonaro, 67, would concede defeat. Without proof, he has described the voting system as fraud-prone, raising concern he may not concede, following the example of his ideological ally, former US President Donald Trump.

It is tradition in Brazil for the losing candidate to speak first and accept the election loss, before the new president addresses the nation.(Aljazeera)

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