Lula Elected President of Brazil in Historic Win Including Critical Rio de Janeiro Favelas

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In Rio de Janeiro, Lula beat Bolsonaro in the electoral zones that include the favelas of Complexo do Alemão, Penha, and Maré, as well as City of God, Rio das Pedras and Gardênia Azul.

In an election marked by cutthroat competition and a deep division in Brazilian society, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 77, leader of the Worker’s Party (PT), was elected president of Brazil for the third time on Sunday, October 30. With 60,345,999 votes, he defeated President Jair Messias Bolsonaro, 67, from the Liberal Party (PL), who received 58,206,354 votes. With over 60 million votes, Lula received more votes in this election than anyone in Brazilian history.

Lula’s win in the 2022 elections runoff was the narrowest margin since the country’s re-democratization following military rule. The difference between candidates was just 2,139,645 votes.

Shortly after his victory was confirmed, Lula gave his first speech as president-elect in São Paulo. He promised to govern “for all 215 million Brazilians” and insisted on the importance of unity so that “we can once again beat hunger and build a truly democratic country.”

Lula makes his first speech as president-elect. Photo: Workers’ Party (PT)

“This is how I understand democracy: it’s not just a pretty word written in the law. It’s something palpable: something we feel in our flesh and build every day. It was this democracy, in the broad sense of the word, that the Brazilian people chose today at the ballot box. This is the democracy—real, concrete—that we were committed to throughout our campaign.” — President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

He also promised to resume with people’s conferences so that the population can tell government leaders what they wish for and want as public policies for social welfare.

In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the Workers’ Party candidate—who was elected by a coalition of 15 parties known as the Broad Front for Democracy—was defeated by Bolsonaro, who won in 72 municipalities. In the state capital, the city of Rio de Janeiro, the final count went to Bolsonaro with 52.66% of the vote while Lula received 47.34%.

However, in electoral zones 21, 161 and 162, which encompass the group of favelas that make up Complexo do Alemão and Complexo da Penha, and the neighborhoods of OlariaRamosBonsucesso and surrounding areas which include the favelas of Maré, Lula won with 118,650 votes according to Superior Electoral Court (TSE) data published in the newspaper Estadão.

On Twitter, newspaper Voz das Comunidadespublished images of residents celebrating Lula’s victory.

Adding up the results in all three electoral zones, Lula gained 11,715 more votes than Bolsonaro, who received 106,935 votes. Lula won the election in the 21st electoral zone with 53.11%, and in the 161st electoral zone with 57.53%, but lost to Bolsonaro in electoral zone 162, where the incumbent received 51.54% of votes.

But the real surprise came with the red dot that opened up in Rio de Janeiro’s West Zone. Although Bolsonaro won in almost every neighborhood in the region, Lula won in the 179th Electoral Zone, which encompasses the favelas of Rio das Pedras, City of God and Gardênia Azul.

Map shows voting in the city’s 179th electoral zone in the middle of Barra da Tijuca, which encompasses the favelas of Rio das Pedras, City of God and Gardênia Azul.

Lastly, it is worthwhile mentioning that the electoral zone that encompasses Rio’s largest favela, Rocinha alongside neighboring South Zone areas, the 211th electoral zone, showed a significant number of votes for the Workers’ Party candidate, with Lula receiving 64.08% of the vote and Jair Bolsonaro 35.92%.

Lula: “I Will go Back to Complexo do Alemão as President of Brazil”

Minutes after being elected president for the third time, Lula met up with Rene Silva. Founder of internationally recognized community newspaper Voz das Comunidades, one of the country’s most important community news outlets, Rene Silva went to São Paulo after voting in Rio de Janeiro.

Lula promised to return to Complexo do Alemão, now as president. “I will go back to Complexo do Alemão as president of Brazil to thank you all. Favelas aren’t full of criminals, they’re full of hardworking people,” he told Rene, who published the video on Twitter.