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Lula Wins Over Bolsonaro In Brazil's Presidential Election

A photo finish win, with a slight majority percentage of 50.9% and a gap of 2 million votes, delivered success to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has for the third time become the Brazilian President.


After a no holds barred election campaign, the Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, TSE), the highest body of the Brazilian Electoral Justice, established a historical win for Lula over the former head of state Jair Messias Bolsonaro.


The election campaign was atypical and controversial, characterized by the spread of fake news, mainly from conservative and far-right channels. The electoral court, aware of the power of these fraudulent pieces of information, enacted severe restrictions on free speech. These were very drastic for the country's young democracy according to experts.


Furthermore, instead of an expected majority for Lula starting from the first round of voting, the race between the two candidates was tight until the final vote.


The election represents a turning point for the nation and its political history. Lula gained a historical win for a number of reasons, becoming the oldest man (at 77 years old) to hold the presidential office and the first to be elected three times; in contrast, the Bolsonaro defeat made him the first one unable to be re-elected. 


Who is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva?

Coming from a working-class background, Lula began his career as a metalworker, entering the political landscape as a trade unionist.


Embracing a left-wing political philosophy, he was elected two times from 2003 to 2010, undertaking radical reforms for the environment, healthcare, and schooling, strengthening foreign policy, and reducing public debt and inflation.


Despite his influence and popularity, he has not remained immune to the shadow of corruption. He was arrested and spent between 2018 and 2019 in jail. It was likely a political process to remove him from the government, preventing his candidacy in the 2018 elections. 


An idea suggested by the Supreme Court, labeling Sergio Moro's actions (Public Prosecutor then, later elected Minister Of Justice in Bolsonaro's term) as impartial and politically oriented, resulted in the termination of charges on Lula for legal flaws, allowing him to regain his political rights.


What will be the challenges of this new government?

Despite the win, Lula has to regain citizens' trust, particularly from those who voted for his opponent. The far-right fringe didn't accept the loss, throwing the nation into chaos. Roadblocks in 20 of the 27 States of the country are shutting down viability while protests are spreading. There is a rising fear of an assault similar to that in Washington’s Capitol Hill in October 2020, after Bolsonaro authorized the government transition while not deliberately acknowledging defeat.


Given the slight majority, the right-oriented weight in the political debate will remain consistent. It's on Lula to be a peacekeeper, avoiding delays that could only worsen Brazil's tough situation.

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