Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been re-elected in a clear victory, polling more than 60% of the vote against rival Geraldo Alckmin.
In a victory speech, Lula said he would govern for all Brazilians and intensify efforts to alleviate poverty during his second four-year term.
“We will give attention to the most needy. The poor will have preference in our government,” he said.
Lula narrowly failed to win in the first round, forcing Sunday’s run-off.
In a speech in Sao Paulo, Lula promised to boost growth and reduce inequality to put Brazil on track to reach the ranks of developed nations.
“The foundation is in place, and now we have to get to work,” he told crowds of supporters who had taken to the streets in celebration, waving Workers’ Party flags.
Supporter Danusia Alves said: “For me it is a great happiness because we have a wonderful government. The people who were never taken care of now are being taken care of.”
Well, Lula’s record is basically good, but a tee-tiny tad mixed. On the one hand, he’s taken brave steps to haul people out of poverty. On the other, the biggest causes of poverty–landlessness and illiteracy–are still rampant. And the landless people’s movement is deeply disappointed in him.
Let’s hope Chavecito can show him the light on his weak points, and maybe transplant a little Chavismo to Brazil. The literacy missions that were a huge success in Venezuela can be applied just as readily there, albeit on a larger scale; this is where Venezuela’s oil boom could come in handy to help another neighbor country. And Lula may want to brush up on Chavecito’s land-redistribution reforms, too. (Did you know that JFK is the original author of that idea? So much for the “Castro communist” accusation.)
In any event, Lula is on solid ground now, with a Chavecito-like 60% of the vote. That’s a mandate, folks. Let’s hope it gives him the confidence to make some big changes–and tell the IMF where to shove its “conditionalities”.