With more than 60 million votes, Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been elected president of the Brazilian Republic. The president-elect will begin his third term as president of the country on 1 January 2023.
“We are going to live in new times of peace, love and hope," Lula said in his victory speech. “They tried to bury me alive … And now I’m here to rule the country — in a very difficult situation, but I am sure that with the help of the people we will find a way out and restore peace.”
Lula has been a central figure in Brazilian politics for over three decades. After serving as the head of a steel-workers union in São Paulo in the 1970s, leading an historic strike during the military dictatorship, Lula was pivotal in establishing the Worker’s Party alongside other trade unionists, intellectuals, and politicians.
His victory represents a historic comeback after serving as the first working-class president for two terms between 2003 and 2010 and then the ensuing political persecution that saw him accused and convicted of corruption. In March 2021, his convictions were annulled by a Supreme Court judge opening a path for Lula to run for presidency in 2022.
During his campaign, Lula expressed a desire to adopt new labour legislation based on a tripartite bargaining that will restore workers’ rights, strengthens collective bargaining, union representation and to give special attention to informal and gig economy workers.
We congratulate our Brazilian affiliates who have supported Lula’s campaign and who continue to advocate for the rights of Brazilian transport workers and for the democratic values that sit at the heart of our movement.
“Trade unionists the world over will be celebrating Lula’s victory,” declared ITF President Paddy Crumlin. “We stand with our Brazilian comrades in supporting Lula, and the labour movement in Brazil, to rebuild and reunite a nation that has been bitterly damaged and divided by Bolsonaro and his far-right, populist policies.”
“Lula said that his number one priority is alleviating the crippling poverty that has led to 33 million Brazilians facing hunger and over 100 million living under the poverty line. His renewed leadership to restore social, environment and economic justice, and to build an economy around equality and not greed, will ensure that tens of millions of people are better off.”
Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary said: “Today marks a new chapter for Brazil. We celebrate Lula’s victory and look forward to his leadership as he heals the nation from the divisions that have fractured the fabric of the nation. We look forward to working with our affiliated unions to build a more equal and sustainable future for Brazil and to progress the rights of transport workers not only in Brazil but across the region.”
Edgar Diaz, ITF Americas Regional Secretary commented: "We celebrate Lula's triumph. We are convinced that workers in Brazil and across the region will benefit from Lula's return to the presidency. It will not be an easy task for his government, but we are confident that the interests of ITF and our affiliates, and the international trade union movement, to maintain and strengthen workers’ rights in Brazil and in the region will regain momentum after years of neoliberal attacks."