SAO PAULO — President Joe Biden congratulated leftist Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his victory in the country’s presidential election on Sunday night, who also hailed the polls as “free, fair and credible elections.” .
The congratulatory statement from the White House came less than an hour after Brazilian election officials declared da Silva, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, the winner of the race against right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has spent the past two years spreading conspiracy theories in an attempt to undermine elections. Da Silva and his campaign, along with many officials in Brazil, saw prompt international recognition of the results as key to blunting any potential attempt by Bolsonaro to challenge the results.
“I extend my congratulations to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his election as the next president of Brazil following free, fair and credible elections,” Biden said in a statement. “I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years to come.”
Da Silva finished with around 2 million votes ahead of Bolsonaro in a race that was a key test of Brazilian democracy, which Bolsonaro has spent his presidency trying to undermine. Bolsonaro, an ally of former US President Donald Trump, never praised or acknowledged Biden’s 2020 election victory and continued to question it ahead of his first meeting with his US counterpart this summer.
Folha de S. Paulo, one of Brazil’s largest newspapers, reported on Sunday that the Biden administration also plans to send national security adviser Jake Sullivan to Brazil in the coming weeks, a decision the newspaper has said. interpreted as intended to enhance the legitimacy of the election and ensure a smooth transition.
Da Silva pledged to rebuild international relations that frayed under Bolsonaro and said on Saturday he would seek a visit to the United States at the start of his presidency.
He hailed his return to the presidency as a victory for the world’s fourth-largest democracy in his first speech as president-elect on Sunday evening.
“The majority of the Brazilian people have made it clear that they want more democracy, not less,” da Silva said in his first speech as president-elect. “They want more social inclusion, not less. They want more, not less, equality and brotherhood in our country.
The Huffington Gt