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Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican since 1850
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The Election of Lula and a Polarized Brazil
It was minutes before 8 p.m. on October 30, 2022, and counting had reached 98 percent of the ballots, when the Electoral Court confirmed the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president of Brazil for the next four years. It was a razor-thin victory, with a margin of just over 2 percent over opponent Jair Messias Bolsonaro, incumbent president and candidate for reelection. But it was enough for Lula to become the first democratically elected president three times, as he had already been president from 2003 to 2010, for two consecutive terms.

At 77 he is also the oldest person to assume the presidency and the only person to have received more than 60 million votes in the country’s history. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, is the first president of Brazil not to be re-elected since democracy was established in 1985.

The scandals which emerged between 2003 and 2010 involving corrupt practices within the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores [PT]), of which Lula, then president of Brazil, was a member, put his government in serious trouble, despite the fact that he had adopted a markedly socialist policy, aimed at improving welfare and eradicating hunger, especially in the northeastern region of the country. The scandals turned public opinion against him, undermining his credibility and the esteem he had enjoyed. However, this did not prevent Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s candidate and a member of the same party, from being elected president in turn for two terms (2011 and 2014). But in 2015, Rousseff was impeached and subsequently dismissed for alleged administrative malfeasance.
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