Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the 77-year-old leftist icon and former president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, secured a return to the country’s top job on Sunday, narrowly defeating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a bitterly contested presidential runoff election.


The victory by da Silva, known to supporters and detractors alike simply as Lula, marks an ongoing leftward shift in Latin America, following recent victories by Gabriel Boric in Chile and Gustavo Petro in Colombia. Da Silva was released from prison in 2019, following a 2018 conviction and 12-year sentence on corruption and money laundering charges. Brazil’s supreme court subsequently voided the conviction.

Da Silva, a former labor leader and co-founder of Brazil’s Workers Party, campaigned on pledges to protect the...