Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s runoff presidential election Sunday, in what some have called the country’s most important polls since its return to democracy, according to Anadolu Agency.
“I consider that I had a process of resurrection in Brazilian politics. 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
During his previous mandate, Lula helped lift around 30 million Brazilians out of poverty with a number of social programs.
He remained a popular leader who oversaw a strong economy with high approval ratings when he left office on Dec. 31, 2010.
Lula, a former union leader, ran in the 2018 presidential election until a graft and money laundering conviction curtailed his political aspirations. He was sent to prison and Bolsonaro, a former army captain, won the presidency.
In 2019, Lula was released from prison after the ruling against him was overturned by the Supreme Court, allowing him to run for office again.
As all of the votes were about to be counted, Lula tweeted “democracy,” with his hand placed over the flag of Brazil, a symbolic gesture after some had accused Bolsonaro of co-opting the national colors for political ends.
With 99.55% of the count completed, Lula had garnered 50.88%, receiving 60,048,560 votes, according to data from the Supreme Electoral Court.
Bolsonaro received 49.12% or 57,976,538 votes.
Around 156 million voters were eligible to cast their ballots for the next president in the country, where voting is compulsory.
More than 697,000 Brazilians living overseas were also eligible to vote, according to the national public news agency Agencia Brasil.
In the first round of the election on Oct. 2, many polls suggested a clear win for Lula, who received 48% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro’s 43%.
The result meant that both candidates were short of the 50% threshold needed for an all-out victory, automatically mandating a second round of voting.