Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva: 5 Points On Brazil’s President-Elect

Lula da Silva defeated Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election. (AFP File Photo)

In a stunning comeback, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva narrowly defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, following a tight run-off race on Sunday. According to Brazil’s Election Authority, Lula secured 50.8 per cent votes, as compared to 49.2 per cent

Here are five points on Brazil’s new President-elect:

  1. He was born on October 27, 1945, to illiterate farm hands. The family moved to Sao Paulo when he was seven. He quit school after the second grade and started working to help his family. Lula’s first job at the age of 12 was that of a shoe-shiner and street vendor. He joined the labour movement and steadily rose through the ranks.

  2. Lula’s political career started in 1980, when he founded the left-wing Workers’ Party. He first ran for office in 1982, to become the governor of Sao Palo, but lost. Lula, as he is popularly known, launched his first bid to become Brazil’s working-class President in 1989 but it was unsuccessful. He lost two presidential bids – in 1994 and 1998 – before finally becoming successful in 2002.

  3. Under his tenure, Lula helped millions escape poverty and helped Brazil secure the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. His presidency also reinvigorated Brazil’s oil and ship-building industries, while its economy rose to sixth-largest in the world. He was re-elected to the country’s top post in 2006 but refused to run for thirs consecutive term. Lula left power in 2010  with approval ratings 90 per cent after which his party became embroiled in a series of corruption scandals. Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff was impeached in 2016.

  4. Lula too was convicted in 2017 of corruption and jailed a year later to 9-1/2 years in prison. The charges were quashed last year, and the former president was freed, paving the way for him to reclaim the presidency.

  5. Lula has promised to attract foreign investment by restoring Brazil’s credibility as a steward of the Amazon rainforest, where Jair Bolsonaro let deforestation soar to a 15-year high. After losing his first wife to a stroke while he was in prison, Lula remarried last year to sociologist Rosangela da Silva, known as Janja. A heavy smoker for years, Lula was treated with chemotherapy for throat cancer in 2011.

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