What have world leaders said about Lula da Silva? Messages from Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden on election win

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to become Brazil’s next president

The leftist former president received 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, according to the country’s election authority, marking a return to power for da Silva.

Da Silva, universally known as Lula, was the country’s president from 2003 to 2010 and has promised to restore Brazil’s more prosperous past. He built an extensive social welfare programme during his tenure as president that helped lift tens of millions into the middle class, and he left office with an approval rating above 80%, prompting then US president Barack Obama to call him “the most popular politician on Earth”.

However, he is also remembered for his administration’s involvement in vast corruption revealed by sprawling investigations which saw him jailed for 580 days for corruption and money laundering.

His convictions were later annulled by Brazil’s top court, which ruled the presiding judge had been biased and colluded with prosecutors. That enabled da Silva to run for president for the sixth time.

He has pledged to boost spending on the poor, re-establish relationships with foreign governments and take bold action to eliminate illegal clear-cutting in the Amazon rainforest.

Da Silva’s victory marks the country’s tightest election since its return to democracy in 1985, and the first time that a sitting president failed to win re-election, with just over two million votes separating the two candidates.

Bolsonaro had been leading throughout the first half of the count but as soon as da Silva overtook him, cars in the streets of downtown Sao Paulo began honking their horns and people in the streets of Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema neighbourhood could be heard shouting, “It turned!”

World leaders including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have all reacted to the news and offered their congratulations.

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