It is Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva again: Twenty years after first taking office, the leftist candidate in Brazil defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday in a remarkably close vote that represents a political about-face for the nation following four years of far-right politics.

In the runoff election, da Silva had 50.9% of the vote versus Bolsonaro’s 49.1% after more than 99% of the ballots had been counted. The election authority declared da Silva the winner mathematically speaking.

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It is a startling turnabout for da Silva, 77, who was barred from voting in the 2018 election that propelled Bolsonaro, a supporter of conservative social ideals, to power due to his 2018 imprisonment due to a corruption scandal.

Who is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva?

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a politician and former unionist who was born on October 27, 1945, is Brazil’s incoming president. He previously held the position of 35th President from 2003 to 2010 and will take office as Brazil’s 39th president in 2023.

Before winning the 2002 Brazilian general election, he ran unsuccessfully for president three times. He was a founding member of the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT). In 2006, he was re-elected.

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Lula said in May 2021 that he will challenge Jair Bolsonaro for the third term as president of Brazil in the general election of 2022. On October 30, 2022, he narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in the presidential election.

Luiz Inácio da Silva, who was raised by sharecroppers in Pernambuco state, supplemented the family’s income by working as a shoe shine boy, street seller, and factory worker. He eventually added the nickname “Lula” to his given name.

He was able to secure a job with the Villares Metalworks in So Bernardo do Campo, an industrial neighbourhood of So Paulo, during the recession that followed Brazil’s 1964 military coup. He joined the Metalworkers’ Union while working at Villares, and in 1972 he quit his job to work full-time for the union, where he oversaw its legal department until 1975 when he was elected union president.

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In response to the economic policy of the military administration, he started a movement for pay hikes, which gained him national notoriety. From 1978 through 1980, a string of strikes highlighted the campaign, which resulted in Lula’s arrest and indictment for breaking the National Security Law. He was found guilty and given a three-and-a-half-year prison term, but the Military Supreme Court released him the following year.