The top electoral authority in Brazil announced on Sunday evening that 77-year-old hardline socialist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, once convicted and sentenced to over two decades in prison for alleged corruption, had won this year’s presidential election against incumbent conservative Jair Bolsonaro.
In his first words as president-elect for a third term, Lula vowed to “reconstruct the very soul of this nation” away from the small government, pro-freedom ideals of the Bolsonaro administration.
Little more than a percentage point separated Lula, who served as president previously from 2003 to 2011, from Bolsonaro, as of 10 p.m. ET, representing about 2 million votes in a nation of 214 million people. National newspaper of record O Globo described the results as the closest election since 1989, when Lula narrowly lost to Fernando Collor de Mello, who was impeached and ousted from office over corruption allegations in 1992. Collor later supported the impeachment ouster of Lula’s protege, Dilma Rousseff, in 2016, also prompted by corruption allegations – kicking off the series of events that ultimately led to Bolsonaro’s 2018 victory.