- Katie Watson
As news spread of Lula da Silva’s victory in Brazil’s presidential election, his supporters in red, the signature color of his Workers’ Party, thronged Sao Paulo’s main Paulista Avenue, eager to catch a glimpse of their elected president.
The crowd chanted “Lola Aad” and released red smoke to mark the occasion.
“It was a very difficult campaign. It was not Lula against Bolsonaro, it was a democratic campaign against barbarism,” Luis Inacio Lula da Silva told a crowd of supporters a few hours later.
Whether she agrees to it or not, the fact that Lula, Brazil’s most popular politician, has returned to rule the country is a historic moment.
“I feel good, not only for the Brazilian people but for the whole planet, for the Amazon, for democracy, for human rights,” said Feridiana Alexo, 47, acknowledging that Brazil is deeply divided. Anger and hate aside.
Lula had come to power twenty years ago and pledged to make massive changes, but his subsequent political downfall, due to corruption scandals, led to him being denied candidacy in 2018, and he spent a period in prison, before the charges against him were dropped.
“I went through a period of political resurrection because they tried to bury me alive,” Lula said. “From January 1 (next), there will be no two Brazils, we are one, we don’t want to fight anymore, it’s time to lay down our weapons that we shouldn’t have raised in the first place.” .
However, the unification of Brazil will be the biggest challenge for da Silva.
On Sunday, 24-year-old Felipe Fonte went to vote wearing the Brazilian soccer jersey, a color that has become associated with Brazil’s far-right.
“I think (President Jair) Bolsonaro has a lot of flaws, but he’s a man of God. He has right principles, and he’s not the biggest thief ever in Brazil. So that’s the biggest thing for me,” said Philip.
Although Lula will officially take office in the new year, his duties begin immediately, trying to win over people like Philip.
“From tonight, the focus should be on starting a dialogue with those who did not vote for the president. The president must be for all Brazilians,” said Oliver Steinkel, professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo.
In the wake of Lula’s victory, Bolsonaro’s camp has been silent, rumors circulate that he has gone to sleep, perhaps because he is an unlucky loser, and there is real concern about whether Bolsonaro and his more radical followers will accept the election result.
“I think we’re having a few days and weeks that could be tense,” Stoenkel said, as the world waits to hear whether Bolsonaro will accept or oppose the outcome, as he has often threatened, one thing is for sure: It’s good news for democracy, according to Stoenkel. .
He added, “Bolsonaro has sought over the past four years to undermine checks and balances and put increasing pressure on the judiciary and civil society. In this sense, especially for other democracies around the world, (Lula)’s victory is undoubtedly good news, especially in The decline of democracy continued.
While Lula may be the same as the former politician, he will lead an entirely different, and more divided, Brazil than he ruled 20 years ago, in dire economic distress.
Not only that, but while Bolsonaro steps aside, his legacy will live on in Congress and regional politics, and Lula will have to deal with conservative lawmakers in whatever he wants to do.
Will Lula once again be Brazil’s savior as many of his supporters still see him?
On Sunday evening, his supporters chanted hopeful: “It’s time to go, Bolsonaro.” Lula returned, came to change Brazil.
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