Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was born on October 27th, 1945 in the town of Garanhuns, countryside of the Brazilian State of Pernambuco. Father of five children, he is married to Marisa Letícia da Silva since 1974. Lula is the seventh of eight children of Aristides Inácio da Silva and Eurídice Ferreira de Mello. In December 1952, Lula’s family left Pernambuco, then a poor region of Brazilian Northeast, and moved to the State of São Paulo. He went living in a poor neighborhood of Guarujá, São Paulo seashore.
In 1956 the family moved to São Paulo City. There they lived together in a single room in a neighborhood of workers.
In 1975 Lula was elected president of the São Bernardo do Campo and Diadema Metalworkers Union as the choice of 92% of the voters. At the time the union represented about 100,000 workers.
Lula was one of the Workers’ Party (PT in Portuguese) foundation organizers – along with other trade unionists, intellectuals, politicians and social movements activists, such as rural and religious leaders. The PT foundation came to happen on February 10th, 1980. In 1984 he was one of the main leaders engaged in the “Diretas Já” campaign for the election of a new President by the direct universal vote. In 1986 he was elected representative to the National Congress with the greatest votation of the Brazilian history. That legislature was turned into the Constituent Assembly, which was in charge of the elaboration and approval of a new democratic Constitution, promulgated in 1988.
The Workers’ Party launched Lula as its candidate for the Presidency of the Republic in 1989, after 29 years without a direct and universal votation for that position. In June 2002 the PT National Convention approved the creation of an electoral alliance in support of Lula’s Presidency candidacy. Liberal Party Senator for the State of Minas Gerais José Alencar was chosen as the slate vice-president candidate.
On October 27th, 2002, at the age of 57, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected President of the Federative Republic of Brazil as he gained 52.8 million votes in the second electoral round – 61.3% of the total amount.
On October 29th, 2006, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, once again accompanied by José Alencar, was elected President of the Republic with 58.3 million votes (60.8% of the total), the greatest votation of Brazilian history.
During the eight years of Lula as President, Brazil won the challenge of economic growth while social inequalities were reduced.
Lula supported the presidential candidacy of Dilma Vana Roussef, who was first the Mines and Energy minister and then the Presidency chief-of-staff during his two terms. She won the elections and became the first woman to be invested President of the Brazilian Republic. Her term began on January 1st, 2011.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is Honorary President of the Worker’s Party for the second time since February 2011.
Click here to see the balance of the eight years of the Lula government (in Portuguese only).