Brazil’s Lula ties the knot months before presidential election

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 08, 2019, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks to supporters next to his girlfriend Rosangela da Silva after leaving the Federal Police Headquarters, where he was serving a sentence for corruption and money laundering, in Curitiba, Parana State, Brazil, on November 8, 2019. – Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will marry sociologist and left-wing activist Rosangela da Silva, also known as Janja, on May 18, 2022. (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)


SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the front-runner in Brazil’s October presidential elections, took a break from campaigning Wednesday to marry his fiancee and fellow Workers’ Party member, sociologist Rosangela da Silva.

The former president posted a photo on Instagram Wednesday night in which he appears to be saying his vows to Da Silva while placing a wedding ring on her finger.

Lula, 76, and Da Silva, 55, tied the knot in an evening ceremony in the upscale Brooklin neighborhood of Sao Paulo.

Closed to the press, the event was attended by about 200 guests, including family members, politicians and artists, who only found out about the location the day before.

Upon entering the party, they were instructed to leave their cell phones in the coatroom, according to local media.

Rosangela da Silva, known also as Janja, is seen in a wedding dress during her wedding ceremony with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 18, 2022. (Photo by Ricardo STUCKERT / PRESS OFFICE OF LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA / AFP) 

Before the event, rumors about the festivities, budget and menu swirled online, with supporters of far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro painting the allegedly lavish party as evidence in support of the corruption charges that have long dogged leftist ex-president Lula.

Seen arriving at the party were former president Dilma Rousseff, former Sao Paulo governor and Lula’s vice-presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin, and singer Gilberto Gil, among others.

Looking considerably grayer than during his 2003-2010 presidency, Lula has presented his relationship with “Janja” — his fiancee’s nickname — as evidence he still has the youthful energy to lead Latin America’s biggest economy.

Pictures of the couple kissing and cuddling regularly go viral on social media, and one of him in a Speedo-style swimsuit embracing her with a giant grin became a topic of national conversation when Da Silva posted it online in August.

“I’m in love as if I were 20 years old,” Lula told Time magazine recently.

“A guy as happy as I am doesn’t have to rage — let your opponents do what they want… If I can, on the campaign, I will speak only about love. I don’t think it’s possible to be a good president if you only feel hate inside you.”

It will be Lula’s third marriage.

His first wife died in 1971, two years after they married.

Marisa Leticia, his second wife, was Brazil’s first lady during his two terms. They had four children together and were married for 43 years, until she died of a heart attack in 2017.


© Agence France-Presse