Brazil's Lula da Silva makes comeback as he narrowly beats far-right rival Jair Bolsonaro in knife-edge election

31 October 2022, 05:45 | Updated: 31 October 2022, 05:56

Brazil's Lula da Silva beats far-right rival Jair Bolsonaro
Brazil's Lula da Silva beats far-right rival Jair Bolsonaro. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Lula da Silva has made a comeback after narrowly beating his far-right rival, Jair Bolsonaro, in the Brazilian presidential elections.

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Mr Bolsonaro, 67, who was first elected in 2019, pledged to safeguard conservative Christian values - while Mr Da Silva promised to return the country to a more prosperous past.

Following a divisive campaign, which saw a closer-than-expected first round, Mr Da Silva went on to win 50.9% of the votes.

In his victory speech, he told supporters that Brazil was "back on the global stage" and urged "peace and unity" following the knife-edge election.

Mr Da Silva went on to say he would create "a Brazil of peace, democracy, and opportunity".

His victory marks the first time since Brazil's return to democracy in the '80s that the sitting president has failed to be re-elected.

Lula da Silva giving his victory speech
Lula da Silva giving his victory speech. Picture: Alamy
Devastated Jair Bolsonaro supporters hearing the results.
Devastated Jair Bolsonaro supporters hearing the results. Picture: Alamy

Both candidates had their critics in a race that has exposed the deep schism in the politics of the South American country, the world's fourth largest democracy.

'Bolsonaro has consistently disrespected the Amazon.'

Former army officer Mr Bolsonaro came under pressure for his divisive rhetoric, business dealings, policies regarding the Amazon rainforest and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile Mr Da Silva, a 77-year-old former trade unionist who was president from 2003 to 2010, has been caught up in several corruption scandals and spent more than a year in prison.

Referring to his past in his speech, he said: "They tried to bury me alive and here I am."

Read more: Police find human remains in search for British journalist missing in Amazon

Read more: Cliff collapses onto tourist boats in Brazil killing seven people

The case was later annulled because the judge, later a minister in Mr Bolsonaro's government, was deemed biased.

A Bolsonaro supporter on election day
A Bolsonaro supporter on election day. Picture: Getty
Brazilian indigenous Tikuna people queue to vote
Brazilian indigenous Tikuna people queue to vote. Picture: Getty
A Luka supporter on Sunday
A Luka supporter on Sunday. Picture: Getty

Mr Bolsonaro had been first in line to cast his vote at a military complex in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, wearing the green and yellow colours of the Brazilian flag that always feature at his rallies.

"I'm expecting our victory, for the good of Brazil," he told reporters afterward.

"God willing, Brazil will be victorious today."

Military police patrolling in Sao Paulo
Military police patrolling in Sao Paulo. Picture: Getty
A Bolsonaro supporter on Sunday
A Bolsonaro supporter on Sunday. Picture: Getty
Brazilian voters on Sunday
Brazilian voters on Sunday. Picture: Getty

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