In a truly shocking twist that many did not believe was possible, Brazilian left-wing politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known to many simply as Lula, has won the Brazilian Presidential Elections against his opponent, the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

Many did not believe this would be possible due to a variety of reasons that largely involved a corruption conviction in 2017 that would have prevented him from running again for President. The charges ended up being overturned in 2021, paving the way towards his stunning comeback to Brazil’s highest position.

With him having been out of the spotlight for so long, here are some things that you need to know about the 77-year-old man chosen by the Brazilian people to replace Bolsonaro in the Presidency.

Lula’s family and background

Born in the city of Caetés to mother Eudice Ferreira de Melo and father Aristides Inácio da Silva as the youngest of eight children, he was raised Catholic in Santos, Sao Paulo by his aunt. He reportedly has seven siblings, and had to drop out of school in the second grade to support his family, according to the Sports Grail.

Lula has been married three times over the course of his lifetime: in 1969, he was married to Maria de Lourdes, who passed away in 1971 from hepatitis. He ended up married to Marisa Leticia Rocco Casa in 1974 and had three sons with her, as well as adopting her son from her first marriage. She passed away in 2017.

Lula married his current wife Rosangela da Silva in 2022. He has five children, including his daughter Lurian, who was born out of wedlock in 1974 to his girlfriend Miriam Cordeiro, whom he never married.

Lula’s rise in Brazilian politics

By the age of 12, Lula had worked as a street vendor and a shoe-shiner. When he was 14, he ended up becoming a metalworker, a job that ended up costing him his left pinky finger, according to the AP News.

From these experiences, Lula ended up becoming a union leader in Brazil’s manufacturing scene, and he created the left-wing Workers' Party in 1980 due to his experiences growing up.

The man had ended up running for the Brazilian Presidency four times–in 1989, 1994, and 1998–before finally winning the position in 2002, as he became the first representative of the workers of Brazil to claim the top government post.

The first presidency of Lula

Lula ended up serving two terms as Brazil’s President, winning another term in 2006 against center-right candidate Geraldo Alckmin. He then refused to run for another term and ended up picking Dilma Rousseff as his successor, leaving office with an 80% approval rate.

During his term, the economy and social conditions of Brazil were reportedly in an upswing. Among his policies was a welfare program that helped lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty, as well as a strong commodities export relationship with China that gave Brazil much needed money in its coffers.

Brazil rose to become the sixth-largest economy in the world under his tenure, and Lula ended up securing the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics under his tenure, pushing the country in the limelight as an emerging world power. His popularity by the end of his term was such that the then U.S. President Barack Obama called him “the most popular politician on Earth.”

Controversies and alleged corruption charges

Dilma Rousseff proved to be significantly less popular than Lula, ending up being impeached in 2016 for significant corruption charges that ensnared many businessmen and politicians in the country and damaged the reputation of the Workers’ Party to many citizens of Brazil.

Lula ended up facing corruption charges of his own, and was convicted in 2017 for corruption and money laundering, finding himself sentenced to nine and helf years in prison. The Supreme Court ended up annulling the charges in 2021 after it was found that the prosecutors and the judge had colluded with each other to secure a conviction against Lula.

Lula's net worth

Despite the alleged corruption charges, which he has continually pressed upon his innocence, Lula is only reportedly worth $5 million, which includes his private property and bank account.

From political slump to comeback of the year

Lula’s victory against Bolsonaro is among the narrowest victories in the history of Brazil’s elections. Now all eyes are on him as he pushes towards fulfilling his agenda, which includes courting foreign investment back to the country and revitalizing and protecting the Amazon rainforest.

His legacy on the line, Lula has promised sweeping changes against the system, and will reportedly only run for this one term to ensure the future in Brazil and its people. “I am here to govern in a very difficult situation. But I have faith in God that, with our people’s help, we will find a way out for this country,” he said.

Lula Da Silva Brazil Re-Election
Pulling off a stunning comeback to the Presidency no one thought was possible, Workers Party founder and Brazilian President-elect Lula Da Silva finds their legacy on the line as they take on the country's top position for what appears to be the last time. VIEW press/Getty Images.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.