In a rebuke to Mr. Bolsonaro’s far-right movement and his divisive four years in office, Brazilian voters on Sunday ousted President Jair Bolsonaro after just one term and elected the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to replace him, according to election officials.
With this win, Mr. da Silva has accomplished a political comeback that was previously unimaginable; he went from being president to serving time in prison, and then won back the office.
It also brings an end to the stormy time that Mr. Bolsonaro spent as the most prominent leader in the area. In addition to becoming a major international figure of the far right for his brazen attacks on the left, the media, and Brazil’s democratic institutions, he attracted international attention for years for policies that hastened the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and made the pandemic, which caused nearly 700,000 deaths in Brazil, worse. During those years, he garnered attention from people all over the world.
More recently, his efforts to destabilise Brazil’s electoral system garnered significant alarm both domestically and internationally. As a result, people all over the world are paying closely to Sunday’s vote as a critical test for one of the greatest democracies in the world.
The current president has asserted, without providing any proof to support his claims, that the nation’s electronic voting machines are riddled with fraud and has hinted that he would not accept defeat, similarly to the previous president, Donald J. Trump. Many of his admirers pledged that they would follow his instructions and go to the streets.
Mr. Bolsonaro did not issue any public statements on the outcome of the poll as of 11 p.m. local time on Sunday night. It was uncertain whether or not he would capitulate, as well as at what point he would do so.
The results that came in on Sunday demonstrated that tens of millions of Brazilians had grown weary of his divisive approach to politics and the constant upheaval that his government had caused. It was the first occasion in Brazil’s modern democracy’s history that an incumbent president did not win reelection. Brazil’s contemporary democracy is 34 years old.
Nevertheless, Mr. da Silva prevailed with the smallest margin of victory throughout that same time span, which is indicative of the significant partisan gap that he will face in his role as president.
After 99.98 percent of the ballots were tabulated on Sunday night, he came out on top with 50.90 percent of the vote, while Mr. Bolsonaro received 49.10 percent.
During his victory address on Sunday night, Mr. da Silva stated, “I will rule for 215 million Brazilians, and not only for those who voted for me.” He did so by reading from pages held by his new wife, whom he married earlier this year.
Mr. da Silva, 77, a former metalworker and union leader with a fifth-grade education, led Brazil during its boom in the first decade of this century. However, he was later convicted on corruption charges after he left office and spent 580 days in prison for his actions after he was removed from office.
The convictions against the guy merely known as “Lula” were overturned by the Supreme Court a year ago after they reached the conclusion that the judge presiding over his proceedings was biassed. As a result, people rallied in his support.
The election of Mr. da Silva brings an end to a presidential race that was widely regarded as one of the most important votes in Latin America in decades. This election was a match between perhaps Brazil’s two biggest living political figures, each of whom had starkly different visions to reverse the fortunes of the country.
His win also moves Brazil farther to the left, extending a streak of leftist triumphs across Latin America. These victories have been propelled by a surge of anti-incumbent backlash against the region’s current leaders. Since 2018, the leaders of six of the region’s seven most populous nations have been elected from the left.
In spite of his triumph, a sizeable percentage of Brazil’s 217 million people still consider Mr. da Silva to be corrupt as a result of the massive government kickback system that was exposed many years after he had left office. And despite the fact that the convictions against him for corruption were overturned, Mr. da Silva was never declared to be free from blame.
Nevertheless, in spite of these shortcomings, Mr. da Silva was able to win reelection to the presidency thanks to the widespread disapproval of Mr. Bolsonaro and the extreme right-wing organisation he leads.
After casting her vote for Mr. da Silva in Rio de Janeiro, a librarian named Stefane Silva de Jesus, age 30, stated that she did so because “he is our only chance.”