Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva triumphed over incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro Sunday in Brazil’s presidential runoff vote.
Da Silva had 50.9% of the ballots with 99.9% of the votes counted. Election officials said Lula’s victory was a mathematical certainty.
"They tried to bury me alive and here I am," President-elect Da Silva said Sunday.
The far-right Bolsonaro did not acknowledge defeat on Sunday. However, a day before the runoff vote he said, "There is not the slightest doubt. Whoever has more votes, takes it [the election]."
While DaSilva is widely known for lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty during his presidential tenure, Bolsonaro’s tenure in office was marked by his far-right politics, his mocking of the coronavirus, the deforesting of the Amazon rainforest and rampant inflation.
Da Silva has promised to improve the country’s social welfare system and establish a ministry to address the concerns of the country’s indigenous population, but all that may be an uphill battle with the inroads conservatives have made in Brazil’s Congress.
The 77-year-old Da Silva’s victory is a stunning turn of events for the former president who was at the country’s helm from 2003 to 2010. He would later serve 18 months in prison on corruption charges, but those charges were subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court.
U.S. President Joe Biden sent Da Silva congratulations on his presidential win, "following free, fair, and credible elections." The U.S. leader said he is looking "forward to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead."
French President Emmanuel Macron in a congratulatory note posted on Twitter said the two leaders would "renew ties of friendship between their countries."