Madrid Desk, Oct 31 (EFE).- A host of world leaders congratulated Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his return to power in Brazil after the left-wing figurehead beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a tight presidential election runoff.
United States president Joe Biden was one of the first global heavyweights to send a message of goodwill after Lula, the head of the Workers Party (PT) who governed Brazil between 2003-10, secured 50.9% of Sunday’s vote to edge a second-round of polling.
“I send my congratulations to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his election to be the next president of Brazil following free, fair, and credible elections,” Biden said in a White House statement.
“I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead.”
A number of European leaders followed suit.
“I look forward to working with you to address pressing global challenges, from food security to trade and climate change,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a social media post.
Spain’s prime minister congratulated Lula saying Brazil had chosen to support “progression and hope.”
“We will work together for social justice, equality and against climate change,” he added.
Similar statements were issued by French president Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zeleneskyy and Italy’s recently elected prime minister Giorgia Meloni.
British prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “I look forward to working together on the issues that matter to the UK and Brazil, from growing the global economy to protecting the planet’s natural resources and promoting democratic values.”
China, Brazil’s largest trading partner, said it hoped Lula’s return to power would take relations to a “new level that would benefit both countries.”
“We hope that Brazil continues to make new achievements in its task of continuing to build the country,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the foreign minister, told a press conference.
Russia president Vladimir Putin also sent his congratulations, saying in a Kremlin statement that the results of the election confirmed Lula’s “high political authority.”
“I expect that through our joint efforts we will ensure the further development of constructive Russian– Brazilian cooperation on all fronts.”
Sunday’s presidential runoff ended with the closest result in Brazil’s history, as Lula and Bolsonaro were separated by roughly two million votes.
Lula won the first round of voting on October 2, but fell short of the required majority to avoid a runoff.
With the win, the 77-year-old Lula will once again lead Latin America’s largest economy.
Lula’s win was something that appeared to be out of the question just a few years ago due to the multiple corruption charges he was facing, but in 2021 the Supreme Court overturned the convictions against him on technicalities after he had spent 580 days in prison, thus restoring to him his political rights and – of course – the right to run for public office.
Lula takes to the helm of a bitterly divided nation.EFE