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Brazil Has Voted Out Its Far-Right President Jair Bolsonaro And Elected This Leftist Former President

Voters in Brazil have elected leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, as the country's new leader, removing the incumbent far-right president Jair Bolsonaro after four years.
Voters in Brazil have elected leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, as the country’s new leader, removing the incumbent far-right president Jair Bolsonaro after four years.
brazil election lula vote
Former president of Brazil and Candidate of Worker’s Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures to the journalists after voting during general elections day on October 02, 2022 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

With 99.97% of the votes counted by the evening of Sunday Oct. 30, da Silva had won by a narrow margin of 50.90% of the votes, with Bolsonaro taking 49.10%.

Bolsonaro has been widely criticized during his four years for accelerating the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and worsening the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left almost 700,000 people dead, according to the New York Times.
jair bolsonaro brazil thumbs up
Far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro from the Social Liberal Party (PSL), gestures after casting his vote during general elections on October 28, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

His term has also been marked by invasions of Indigenous lands and surging violence against Indigenous people. It was these policies that led a record number of Indigenous women to run in the general election this year in a bid to increase Indigenous representation.

77-year-old da Silva, a former metal worker and union leader, served as president from 2003 to 2010, leaving office with an 80% approval rating.
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Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva waves a national flag during a campaign rally in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state, Brazil on October 9, 2022 (Photo by DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images)
However, da Silva was convicted of corruption in 2017 in a controversial trial and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison.
brazil lula president election victory speech
Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva speaks after being elected president of Brazil over incumbent Bolsonaro by a thin margin on the runoff at Intercontinental Hotel on October 30, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
He spent 580 days in prison before the Supreme Court ruled that the judge in his cases had been biased and released him.
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Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 29, 2022. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

The beloved ex-president had attempted to run against Bolsonaro in the 2018 election but was barred due to the corruption charges.

Although he has not been cleared of any wrongdoing, he was allowed to run for this year’s election.
brazil lula president 2022 election
Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva smiles during a press conference at Pestana Hotel two days before presidential elections on September 30, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

He is still seen as corrupt by a large chunk of the Brazilian population, but many saw him as a way to reject Bolsonaro and his far-right policies.

The election results continues a wave of leftist victories in Latin America since 2018, starting with Mexico and Argentina, followed by Bolivia, Peru, Honduras, Chile and Colombia.
brazil lula president victory
Candidate Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva speaks after being elected president of Brazil over incumbent Bolsonaro by a thin margin on the runoff at Intercontinental Hotel on October 30, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
Da Silva ran on a campaign to uplift the working class, including more services for the poor such as social welfare payments, a higher minimum wage and food and housing programs.
brazil lula workers presidential election
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva chats with members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) at their camp on the municipality of Itatiaiucu, metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais on February 21, 2018. (Photo by DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images)
He also promised to end illegal mining and logging, which is a driving factor in the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
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Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, gestures next to Indigenous congresswoman candidate Vanda Witoto during an election rally about sustainable development in Manaus, Brazil, on August 31, 2022. (Photo by MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Speaking after his victory on Sunday, he promised to fight against discrimination and equality, according to the New York Times.
brazil lula president victory
Candidate Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva speaks after being elected president of Brazil over incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by a thin margin on the runoff at Intercontinental Hotel on October 30, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

“They tried to bury me alive and here I am,” he said.

“I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me,” he said. “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

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