The only person who could beat Bolsonaro

The only person who could beat Bolsonaro | OP-ED

With engaging speeches and the support of centrist forces, Lula did in 2022 what he couldn’t in 2018.


Before the 2018 election, few people would say the now Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro would win. However, besides the controversial statements, for many, he represented the only option against the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT).  

Few months before Bolsonaro was elected, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or simply Lula, was being appointed as his main adversary but, in 2017, he was convicted of corruption and on April 7th 2018, he was arrested. 

That was the day that Bolsonaro won the 2018 election. 

Bolsonaro’s main opponent at the time ended up becoming another politician from PT, Fernando Haddad, who didn’t have the same influence Lula had. With the promise to free Brazil from corruption and under the motto of “nation, family and god,” Bolsonaro won the election with the support of more than 57 million people. 

Fast forward 4 years, the 2022 election was appointed by many as the most important in the history of the country. In one of the most insane political plot twists, Lula had all his accusations and process annulled, alleging biased judgment from the federal judge Sergio Moro — who ordered his arrest. 

Lula was free to be a candidate, and the emblematic confrontation between him and Bolsonaro would finally happen.  

On Oct. 31st, Lula won with 50,9% of the votes — and with zero surprises, as he was the only one who could have gathered such a force of unexpected supporters. No one else in the country had the power and the influence he had. 


Although many people were expecting a third option instead of having to choose between Bolsonaro or Lula, this is just unrealistic. The truth is that the options were there, but none of the other candidates were strong enough to defeat Bolsonaro's ideas. 

Lula studied until 5th grade only, but with his engaging speeches and motivational ideals, he knows how to gain supporters. Lula has an oratory that tells his constituents what they want and need to hear. With promises of improvements in the economy and a government for all, not just those who voted for him, Lula was able to do what had never happened in Brazil: a president not being reelected. 

A politician as the word better describes it, in the 2022 campaign, Lula focused on being a conciliator instead of a revolutionary trade unionist — one of the great characteristics that led him to be president between 2003 and 2010. 

As a conciliator, he gained the support of many centrist parties and politicians. In addition to other presidential candidates and former presidents, Lula also had the support of world leaders. 

One of the best examples of how Lula saw the importance of his alliances in this year’s campaign was the choice of his vice president, Geraldo Alckmin, a center-right politician who was defeated by Lula’ in the 2006 election. 

Although it is time for the Brazilian left to celebrate, a concern arises: who will be Lula's successor? The future president is 77 years old and has already indicated that he does not intend to run for re-election. With his political career coming to an end in the upcoming years, the thought that remains is that there is no new leader to match him.  


  • Brazil Elections

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