As foretold by the surveys all along the second round campaign Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was reelected president of Brazil this Sunday in a landslide. Lula’s victory was announced at 7:12 pm in Brazil, just two hours after the closing of the polls.
By then, only 85.75% of the electoral precincts had their votes counted, but Lula’s advantage (over 17 million) was already so overwhelming that there was no way for Alckmin to catch up with him.
At 1:16 am, this Monday, with 99.97% of the votes in, the president had 58,292,517 votes (60,823%) against 37,542,576 (39.17%) from Alckmin. Lula justified his victory arguing, "There is no candidate against food on people’s table."
Just after voting in the morning Lula had told reporters during a tumultuous press conference in São Bernardo do Campo, the city where he started his political career as a union leader: "We will put together all the necessary alliances so that we can have serenity and the ability to approve all the big projects that I believe Brazil needs. Most of all I want to talk to all political parties, our allies and those in the opposition, and with the state governors."
Even before the polls closed Lula had already left his house in São Bernardo do Campo and had gone to the Intercontinental Hotel, in São Paulo, close to Paulista Avenue, the place where Paulistas celebrate big victories like soccer championships.
In his first declaration after being proclaimed the winner, the president stressed that his victory belonged to all of Brazil and not only to him or the parties that had backed him. As he had done when he won the first time, he vowed to make the fight against poverty his number one priority. Lula was wearing a T-shirt with the written message: "The victory belongs to Brazil."
"We want to turn Brazil into a more balanced and just country," he said adding that his reelection had shown that the Brazilian democracy is strong and that the country has just gone through a "magic moment of consolidation."
Opposition candidate Geraldo Alckmin called the president to congratulate him for the victory. Alckmin won less votes than in the first round. He lost votes even in Pindamonhangaba, a town about 100 miles from São Paulo, where he started his political career as councilman (1973-1976) and then became mayor (1977-1982).
While he won 48.552 votes in the first round in his hometown or 60.15% of the valid votes, this number fell by 3,121 votes in the runoff. Lula in turn increased his loot in the city by 8,676 votes. He went from 28.67% to 39,85% of the valid votes.
"I did my best," he told supporters. "I made a big effort, I traveled throughout Brazil and took the message of regional development to the whole Country. Democracy is a beauty. I cared for the Lula wishing him a good term of office", said.
The candidate went on to thank all those who helped throughout the campaign: "I want to thank from the bottom of my heart. We didn’t have a single incident in this electoral campaign. I want to pay homage to Mário Covas (late governor of São Paulo), who inspired us. I want to recognize our campaigners, the political parties, the PSDB, the PFL, the PPS and so many parties from the wide alliance that supported us."