Lula da Silva, the two-term president (2003-2010) defeated Bolsonaro with 50.9% to 49.1% votes on Sunday counting, according to the official results
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidential election by defeating Jair Bolsonaro by a narrow range ending the country’s right-wing government in decades. The two-term president (2003-2010) defeated Bolsonaro with 50.9% to 49.1% votes on Sunday counting, according to the official results. The result is a huge setback for Bolsonaro, the right-wing, populist leader who emerged from Congress, marking the first time a president who holds the office has lost in a reelection bid.
World leaders congratulated Lula da Silva including Joe Biden, president of the United States of America who stated the elections as “free, fair and credible”. Mr. Biden also stated that he looks forward to both countries working together and continuing the cooperation in the “coming months and years”.
Lula da Silva, who was arrested in the year 2018 for corruption charges stated that “I consider myself as someone who’s been resurrected” during his first speech after winning the elections in Sao Paulo with a promise to reunite the country after the electoral race and restoring the ties with government institutions. One of the main goals he added was to “put an end to hunger” and attract foreign investors to boost Latin America’s largest economy along with zero- deforestation in Amazon.
Why ‘Trump of the Tropics’ was elected out
After being elected as the president in 2018, the country saw growing polarization and political violence under Jair Bolsonaro’s (also called as ‘Trump of the Tropics’) leadership but the key factor that put him out of office was the widespread criticism for his poor handling of the pandemic that led to the death of 680,000 Brazilians in total with more than 4200 thousand deaths reporting in 24 hours, reaching new records. He also had constant clashes with other institutions like the electoral authorities. There are criticisms against Bolsonaro’s government for poor handling of environmental inspection and control agencies which caused widespread deforestation and environmental degradation in the Amazon resulting in a doubling of Carbon Dioxide emissions.
Brazil’s economy during the pandemic
The Covid 19 pandemic also left the economy in crisis, over the last decade despite the favorable conditions. According to the reports of The World Bank, an average GDP growth of 0.3 percent was seen in the last decades. The rate of productivity growth was weak, mainly owing to an environment that discourages entrepreneurship, slow human capital, accumulation, complex tax system, ineffective sectoral state intervention policies, low savings, and compression of public investment to accommodate higher current spending and increasing pension obligations.
In the month of April 2021, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to increase by 3.17 percent during the year, down from a growth of nearly 3.5 percent predicted two months earlier. With a forecast growth of 5.27 percent as of the third week of July, expectations have improved. By December 2020, the GDP was calculated to decrease by 4.4 percent in the year 2020 and had remained stable at 2.3 percent forecast growth for the first few months and then decreased consecutively for five months due to the Covid outbreak.
According to World Bank, the economy bounced back in 2021 with the help of the services sector to +4.6 percent y/y, from a pandemic induced recession in 2020, which made the economy go down by -3.9 percent y/y. The social protection program’s countercyclical fiscal response helped to tackle the impact of the pandemic on worsening poverty to a certain extent, but it increased the household dependency on public transfers and increased Government Gross Debt.
The election however caused a divide between a sizable minority who support Bolsonaro’s right-wing ideologies and mostly poorer voters who had good times under Lula’s earlier governance, who witnessed growth in the economy due to boosted commodity exports from 2003 to 2010 when Lula ran the office.
Bolsonaro’s allies had won seats in both chambers on top of controlling the country’s three most populous states, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. Lula da Silva is going to be the president of Brazil once again during a time of increasing political and social tension in the country which is not completely recovered from the damages it had endured during the pandemic.