What to know about Brazil’s Lula

STORY: This is Brazil's leftist former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva - known simply as Lula.

Lula and Brazil’s far-right current president Jair Bolsonaro are buckling up for four more weeks of intense election campaigning.

The incumbent’s unexpectedly strong showing in the presidential election on Sunday set up a tight runoff vote for October 30th…

in Brazil’s most fraught election since the end of military rule in 1985.

LULA: “In the second round, I believe that things will be more civilized and Brazilian society will very quickly learn the difference between our candidacy - which defends the truth and democracy, it defends the social welfare state, it defends the respective participation of women and black Brazilians in politics..."

Four years ago, Lula watched from a jail cell as his party was crushed in the last presidential campaign.

Now – he's promising to restore calm in a country polarized by Bolsonaro's far right populism.

Here's what you need to know about Lula.


Lula, a former union leader, led Brazil from 2003 to 2010 during a commodities boom driving robust economic growth.

That helped him lift millions from extreme poverty and expand access to education and healthcare.

He left office with an unprecedented 87% approval rating.

But his legacy was tarnished by a deep recession overseen by his hand-picked successor and former chief of staff, Dilma Rouseff, who was impeached for breaking budget rules.

Lula saw his political career in tatters after being convicted of corruption and jailed for a year and half.

Bolsonaro rode into office on a wave of antipathy towards Lula’s Workers Party.

Last year Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled Lula’s convictions.

LULA: “Four years later I am here voting with the recognition of my full freedom and with the possibility of once again being the president of this country to try to help my country to return to normal.”


Lula 2.0 has emerged as a pragmatic politician, promising to return the country to “normal.”

He vows to fight rising hunger and unemployment, beef up environmental protections, and better protect marginalized groups…

while channeling credit into national industries to create jobs and restore solid growth.

He has forged a broad center-left coalition of 10 parties while reaching out to the business community.

With his gravelly voice and grandfatherly charm, Lula’s unquestionable asset is his ability to speak to Brazilians from all walks of life – from a worker in the Northeast to Brazil’s business elite.

LULA: “I love campaigning, I love going out on the street, I love rallying, I love getting on a truck, I love discussing with Brazilian society.”

For running mate, Lula chose his rival in the 2006 election, former Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin – whose moderate views have reassured some investors.


This is perhaps the biggest question surrounding the vote.

Political violence is on the rise in Brazil…

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has said repeatedly he might not accept an election loss, while claiming the army is on his side.

Lula won the most votes in Sunday’s presidential election, securing 48.4% of votes versus 43.2% for Bolsonaro.

Neither secured the over 50% needed to avoid a runoff.

For many, he is still the favorite to win later in October.

But most analysts see a military coup as unlikely in the event of a Lula win.

Still, many fear a period of protracted political violence and economic disruption.