Lula da Silva will return to Brazil’s presidency in stunning comeback victory over leftist challenger Fernando Collor, while the left-wing candidate’s defeat leaves an uncertainty about who takes power in the year ahead.
Lula had sought to return to power as Brazil’s first centrist president since 1996, promising to fight corruption and boost social spending.
His electoral victory over Collor could have been predicted. But he lost support among those who hoped he would use his power to clean up the city of São Paulo, where the working class is still scarred by the legacy of the 2002-2009 impeachment of Brazil’s former leader, at the time, Fernando Collor.
Collor, who had run on the anti-corruption platform of the left-wing Workers Party (PT) for the presidency, was leading in the polls. His campaign was hit by allegations of corruption, while his choice of running mate, Jair Bolsonaro of the right-wing party of the same name, was criticised by critics for his extreme views on race and immigration.
Lula’s re-election may turn out to be a victory for the party of Brazil’s left, which was in alliance with the PT, instead of taking the reins of government from a centre-right candidate, who would have brought him closer to the PT, he told the Guardian.
“We are going to govern as a left-wing coalition, and the party of the Workers’ Party is going to be inside the government. The party of [PT leader] Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been relegated to a position outside the government, as the party of the PT is inside the government,” Lula said.
In the capital, Sao Paulo, voting began at 8am on Sunday, and polls in the city put the PT candidate, Fernando Haddad, in a dead heat with Collor.
The election will set off a series of changes in Brazil’s politics, as Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) looks to return to power and a new era of government reshuffle.
The president of the state of Sao Paulo, Fernando Haddad, was hoping to form a left-wing coalition that would include his own party. Haddad is the son of former PT candidate and now senator Aécio Neves.
However, the PT’s new leader, who was sworn in on Sunday, is likely to win the presidential election for the first time. But while