President-elect Lula da Silva.

President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (AP)

World Leaders React to Lula's Victory

By Chase Harrison and Jon Orbach

AS/COA Online rounds up responses to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's October 30 runoff win against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

On Sunday, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to become Brazil’s next president. Lula earned 50.9 percent of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent in the closest election since the country’s return to democracy in 1985. Lula, who will take office on January 1, 2023, will be the first Brazilian president to serve a third term.

Bolsonaro, the first Brazilian president not to win reelection, spent much of the campaign questioning the validity of the electoral system and expressing his belief that the vote would be stolen, despite international groups regularly affirming the integrity of Brazil’s electoral institutions. As of publishing, Bolsonaro had yet to recognize the results and had not commented on the election outcome

On the other hand, the White House was quick to respond, with President Joe Biden sending a congratulatory tweet by 9:35 pm ET. 

AS/COA Online rounds up world leaders’ messages to Brazil’s next president.

Reactions from across Latin America

Congratulations poured in quickly from across Latin America. As of the time of publishing, nearly all Latin American presidents had recognized the results of the election. Many of the region’s leaders—especially other presidents who identify as part of the left—posted photos with or of Lula.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was one of the last global leaders to congratulate Biden's 2020 win, tweeted his congratulations to Lula by early evening, saying that there will be “equality and humanism.”  

Other leaders who congratulated Lula on the victory include: Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez, Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso, Panamanian President Nito Cortizo, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Bolivia’s Luis Arce, the Dominican Republic’s Luis Abinader, and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Several Latin American leaders focused on specific issues for collaboration with a Lula government. For Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, that’s Mercosur integration. Colombian President Gustavo Petro listed several top agenda items.

One leader, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, refrained from naming Lula himself and focused on celebrating the democratic process.

Two presidents—El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele and Costa Rica’s Rodrigo Chaves—hadn’t posted anything in their personal accounts as of the time of publishing, though their countries’ foreign ministries did recognize the results.

The congratulations extended beyond Latin America to the greater Caribbean, including leaders from Guyana, the Bahamas, and Barbados.

Beyond Latin America

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted that Lula’s win created a space for collaboration around environmental issues. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, a critical voice against Bolsonaro’s handling of the Amazon and climate change, celebrated Lula’s win as a chance to “renew the bond of friendship” between his country and Brazil. The two leaders shared a call the day after the election. 

Other leaders joined in the congratulations, including the UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer, Spain’s Pedro Sánchez, and the European Union’s Ursula von der Leyen. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, a country Lula said shares the blame for the fallout of Russia’s invasion, tweeted that he looked forward to the two countries’ coordination on security and democratic values.

Leaders from the BRICS countries—an alliance of emerging economies of which Brazil is a member—also sent congratulations: Russia, IndiaChina, and South Africa.