Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who rose from poverty to Brazil’s presidency before crashing into disgrace in a corruption scandal, made a spectacular comeback as leader of Latin America’s biggest economy at the age of 77.
Lula, as he is affectionately known, scraped ahead of far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to win a third term at the helm, election authorities confirmed.
Just 18 months ago, the bearded leftist hero with the trademark raspy voice was a political pariah, imprisoned in a corruption scandal that divided the nation.
Disgust with his Workers’ Party (PT) propelled Bolsonaro into office in 2018, however the vitriolic and divisive conservative quickly lost popularity as he oversaw Covid-19 carnage, environmental destruction, and made comments criticized as racist, sexist and homophobic.
“We need to fix this country… so the Brazilian people can smile again,” Lula said during a tireless campaign in which he crisscrossed the country and appeared on popular podcasts to lure younger voters. | More On RFI.fr