Name? Lula da Silva
Westphalian identity? Brazilian
Why is he in the news? Yesterday Brazilians voted in the run-off elections between President-elect Lula da Silva and President Jair Bolsonaro. We have been covering Lula’s journey through his absolution, political comeback, the elections, as well as Bolsonaro’s rocky journey towards his ultimate loss. All of this has culminated in a slim victory, delivered to Lula by the highly populated low-income northeastern regions of Brazil.
Why do we care? If you look at this map, you will see that the so-called ‘pink wave’ has swept Latin America once again. Though now, the five major economies of the region are led by left-wing leaders or coalitions, which had never been the case in Mexico, Colombia or Chile.
Why should you care? Lula gathered a broad coalition to gain support across the political spectrum. Other parties joined him in efforts to counter the Bolsonarista movement and its anti-democratic tendencies. Still, Lula’s coalition won by a margin of only 1,8%, and did not earn enough votes to overtake Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party in Congress. This speaks to a highly divided electorate who remains sceptical of Lula and the Worker’s Party’s history of corruption and the stain that Operation Car Wash left on the country’s — and the region’s — politics. You should care 7/10.
Who else cares? President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, for one, is looking forward to a Lula presidency, which is expected to be much more open to international dialogue and has also run under the promise of advancing climate change policies. As the EU looks to expand their global involvements in the green transition, Brazil is a beneficial partner.
Any further comments? As of now, Bolsonaro has not conceded his loss nor commented on the elections. After months of downplaying the credibility of electoral institutions, we wonder whether he will resist or work behind the scenes with his allies in Congress.