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Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva marries Rosangela da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

At 76, Brazil’s Lula gets married months before presidential election

  • Brazil’s presidential front runner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva marries for a third time
  • Wedding location kept secret due to fears of protests by Bolsonaro supporters

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the front runner in Brazil’s October presidential elections, took a break from campaigning on Wednesday to marry his fiancée and fellow Workers’ Party member, sociologist Rosangela da Silva.

The former president posted a photo on Instagram on 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 neighbourhood of Sao Paulo.

“I decided to get married again because I believe Brazil can be fixed,” Lula said during the Roman Catholic ceremony, according to a statement. “A man who is 76 years old and is in love like I am, willing to get married, can only want good things for this country.”

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 mobile phones in the coatroom, according to local media.

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The wedding’s location in Sao Paulo was kept secret until Wednesday afternoon due to fears of protests by supporters of far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, as have other events attended by Lula.

Before the event, rumours about the festivities, budget and menu swirled online, with Bolsonaro supporters 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 greyer than during his 2003-2010 presidency, Lula has presented his relationship with “Janja” – his fiancée’s nickname – as evidence he still has the youthful energy to lead Latin America’s biggest economy.

Rosangela da Silva before her wedding in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

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.”

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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.

Additional reporting by Associated Press