President Biden on Monday called Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to offer his congratulations on the weekend’s runoff election, while sitting President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to concede.
“The two leaders discussed the strong relationship between the United States and Brazil, and committed to continue working as partners to address common challenges, including combatting climate change, safeguarding food security, promoting inclusion and democracy, and managing regional migration,” according to the White House.
Da Silva, known colloquially as Lula, of the leftist Worker’s Party defeated incumbent Bolsonaro, a conservative who is often connected to former President Trump.
Biden later on Monday told reporters that his call with da Silva went “very well” and that the two will work together.
“We’re putting a team together to get together and discuss what we can do together,” Biden said. “He wants to focus on the environment, democracy, and dealing with the poor in his country, and saving the Amazon.”
Da Silva’s victory is the first time a sitting Brazilian president has not won reelection since 1985, when the country returned to democracy.
Bolsonaro had threatened not to recognize any result that didn’t hand him reelection, and his extended silence on Monday led to tension in the nation.
Biden, on the call, “commended the strength of Brazilian democratic institutions following free, fair, and credible elections.”
Da Silva previously was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010 and was arrested in 2018 for 580 days for corruption and money laundering. He was able to run again after his convictions were annulled through a ruling that the judge was biased and colluded with prosecutors.
His victory has been compared to Biden’s 2020 victory as Brazil is increasingly polarized on politics.
Updated at 4:47 p.m.
Source: The Hill