Biden, Macron, Trudeau and Maduro were among those quick to share their congratulations

Leaders from the United States, France and other western and Latin American nations were quick to offer congratulations on Sunday to Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, after his narrow victory over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro had cast doubt on the voting process leading up to the bitterly divisive election, and hinted he might reject the outcome if he lost.

Poverty, housing and the Amazon: Lula’s in-tray as president-elect of BrazilRead more

But US president Joe Biden’s statement strongly backed the legitimacy of the result, congratulating Lula “following free, fair, and credible elections”.

“I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,” he said.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Twitter, “The people of Brazil have spoken,” adding that he looks forward to working with Lula, “to strengthen the partnership between our countries, to deliver results for Canadians and Brazilians, and to advance shared priorities – like protecting the environment.”

French leader Emmanuel Macron also offered his good wishes, saying the poll opened “a new page” in Brazil’s history.

“Together, we will join forces to take up the many common challenges and renew the ties of friendship between our two countries,” the French president said on Twitter, minutes after the announcement of the final election results.

All eyes have been on the outcome of the election, with the future of the Amazon rainforest and its impact on the global climate emergency at stake. With 156 million voters, Brazil is one of the world’s largest democracies.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánches wrote that Brazil had “decided to bet on progress and hope”.

Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who recently secured his own leftwing victory, tweeted: “Huge congratulations to @LulaOficial on a tremendous victory in the Brazilian elections. Look forward to working with you on protecting our global environment.”

President Alberto Fernandez of neighbouring Argentina said Lula’s win “opens a new era for the history of Latin America. A time of hope and future that begins today.”

“After so many injustices you lived through, the people of Brazil have elected you and democracy has triumphed,” he added.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, became the country’s first working-class president in 2002. He stepped down after two terms in 2010 with approval ratings close to 90%. In 2018 he was jailed on corruption charges and barred from running in that year’s election, which Bolsonaro went on to win.

Lula was freed after 580 days and his convictions quashed on the grounds that he was unfairly tried by Sergio Moro, a rightwing judge who later took a job in Bolsonaro’s cabinet.

Lula’s return to power in Brazil follows a string of leftwing wins in Latin America. Gustavo Petro, who became Colombia’s first leftist president after his election this summer, tweeted simply “Long live Lula”. He later shared a map showing that the majority of Latin American countries are now led by leftist governments.

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also from the left, tweeted: “Lula won, blessed people of Brazil. There will be equality and humanism.”

And the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, offered a “big hug” to Lula, saying in a tweet: “Long live the peoples determined to be free, sovereign and independent! Today in Brazil democracy triumphed.”


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