Brazil Elects New President

Patrick Givens, Editor in chief

It’s official, Brazil has a brand new president. After a very hard fought election campaign, the former president of Brazil Luis Inácio Lula da Silva defeated the sitting president Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro, who has said in the past that he would never accept the results unless he won, has supposedly told people in his cabinet that “it’s over” and will allow the peaceful transfer of power to take place. 

Leaders from across the country have congratulated President-Elect Lula. President Joe Biden has offered his congratulations and has said that he “looks forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau applauded Lula’s victory and stated that he “hopes to strengthen the partnership between our countries and to advance shared priorities — like protecting the environment.” Even Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Lula and said that he is “willing to work with President-Elect Lula, from a strategic and long-term perspective, to jointly plan and promote to a new level the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Brazil.”

Even though Mr. Bolsonaro has allowed for a transfer of power to take place, his supporters are not backing down and are protesting the results and want a military intervention to take place. Truckers who supported Bolsonaro have blocked roads at São Paulo’s Guarulhos airport which is the country’s main international hub. The protests have caused multiple flights to get canceled. Protesters have also blocked other routes in the country, including in Rio de Janeiro.

For months, it was feared that if Mr. Bolsonaro lost the election, he wouldn’t accept the results and that a Brazilian version of the “Stop the Steal” campaign and even a January 6th style riot would result, but the complete opposite happened. Because of Bolsonaro agreeing to a peaceful transfer of power, everything that was feared to happen just fizzled out without any real momentum.

While Bolsonaro might have been intrigued by the idea of overturning the election, he would have to face many obstacles to even get that started. First off, allies of Mr. Bolsonaro had already conceded the election to President-Elect Lula. That alone made any possibility of filing lawsuits and making false claims about the election basically impossible. 

The main policy that President-Elect Lula has stated is to is suspend all deforestation activities in Brazil and is in talks with Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to form an organization that’s been nicknamed the “OPEC for rainforests” that will pledge to better protect and conserve the world’s rainforests. Under Mr. Bolsonaro, Brazil lost over a million and a half hectares of tropical primary forest in 2021 alone, that’s more than any other country that has tropical primary forests.