Biden congratulates Lula on victory over Trump-backed Bolsonaro in Brazil
President Biden on Sunday congratulated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his victory in Brazil’s presidential election, beating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who was backed by former President Donald Trump.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, has sowed doubt about the integrity of his country’s election system. Biden called Brazil’s election “free, fair, and credible” in his statement Sunday.
“I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,” Biden said of Lula.
With nearly 100 percent of votes counted Sunday night, Lula had 50.9 percent of the vote compared to 49.1 percent for Bolsonaro.
The former and incumbent presidents were the top two candidates in a general election earlier this month, advancing to Sunday’s runoff.
Lula was previously president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, leading his left-wing Workers’ Party to soaring popularity.
However, after leaving office he was swept up in a massive corruption scandal that landed him in prison for 19 months. A Supreme Court justice nullified his convictions in March 2021, clearing him to run for president again.
Bolsonaro has been called “Trump of the tropics” and has been a deeply divisive president, battling with the country’s Supreme Court, overseeing massive clearcutting of the Amazon rainforest and spreading skepticism about COVID-19 and vaccines.
Trump on Sunday morning urged Brazilian voters to return Bolsonaro to the president’s office.
“To the People of Brazil, this is your big day, and also, a big day for the World. Your GREAT and Highly Respected President, Jair Bolsonaro, needs you to get out and Vote, TODAY, so that your Country can continue on its incredible path of success,” Trump wrote.
“Don’t let the Radical Left Lunatics & Maniacs destroy Brazil like they have so many other countries.”
Lula promised tax hikes on the rich and increased government services for the poor during the campaign, but has offered few specifics.
Bolsonaro’s warnings about election fraud have spurred concern that he will refuse to accept his loss on Sunday.
As of 8:30 p.m. EST Sunday night, Bolsonara had yet to publicly respond to the results.