Lula wins Brazil’s presidential election

Photo by [Diego Vara/Reuters: Lula supporters celebrate

Contributed by Joe Montero

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has won the Brazilian presidential election and the sitting and ultra-right president Jair Bolsonaro has lost. But Bolsonaro has not yet conceded, creating concern that he may engineer a coup to stay. The losing candidate is a former military officer, who still has a strong connection with the armed forces. Whether this happens or not will depend on whether the military is united and prepared to take over.

Speculation of a military coup received currency when Bolsonaro claimed during the campaign that the election may be stolen and not reflect the real vote.

Why should anyone outside Brazil be interested in the outcome? For the reason that Brazil is the biggest and most populous nation in South America, and what happens there has a major effect on the continent, and potentially, world affairs.

Time is running out for an official complaint, and many world leaders have already recognised “Lula” as the incoming president. They range from China’s Xi Jinping to Joe Biden of the United States, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and French president Emmanuel Macron, and Britain’s Rishi Sunak.

This is remarkable after Lula had been charged and imprisoned in 2018 on corruption charges. They had proved to be false, and the courts overturned the conviction. Many believed that this had been to ensure that Bolsonaro won the previous election. The Judge on the original case was given a post in Bolsonaro’s government soon after.

Brazilians come out in huge numbers to celebrate

Lula, who was born in poverty and went to work at 14 to help his single parent mother and seven siblings, rose to become a union leader and to head the Workers Party, has vowed to bring changes.

Brazilian share prices fell 8 percent when the election result came out. Lula has received 50.8 percent of the vote, despite reports that pro Bolsonaro police had made it difficult for voters to get to the polls. There is speculation about what might happen to the nations massive oil and gas industry. The government already controls the majority of shares in Petrobras, which might be compelled to subsidise fuel prices.

Social policy will return towards favouring a more even sharing of the wealth and the rebuilding of government services.

There is the question of the Amazon. Under Bolsonaro’s term, its exploitation and destruction for cattle, mining, roads, and port construction has accelerated. Lula has promised to reverse this.

Internationally, Brazil played a key role in the rise of the BRICS economic block during Lula’s first term. In addition to Brazil, the block involved China, India, Russia, and South Africa. The close relationship, broken substantially under Bolsonaro, is likely to return.

In Latin America, the new administration will work to raise the voice of the continent and forge closer relations with other governments of a similar mind. This is important in the case of Venezuela, still suffering under a brutal United Sates led economic warfare. This extends to Colombia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Peru.

There is no doubt that the resurrection of Lula will strengthen what has been called the pink tide.

This, of course, is under the premise that Bolsonaro and the generals respect the voters choice.

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