Brazil’s Bolsonaro wins presidential run-off

 Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro

Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro has won a sweeping victory in Brazil’s presidential election.

The former army captain won 55.2 per cent of the vote against 44.8 per cent for Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party.

Mr Bolsonaro’s pledge to fight crime and corruption following a string of scandals has won him mass support.

However critics are worried by his praise of Brazil’s former dictatorship, and by his comments on race, women and homosexuality.

In one infamous incident in 2015 he told a fellow lawmaker she was too ugly to rape.

Mr Bolsonaro’s controversial comments, his pro-gun stance and his populist approach to politics have led to some media dubbing him “Trump of the Tropics”.

 

President Trump himself took to Twitter on Monday to praise the Brazilian president-elect.

For his supporters, Mr Bolsonaro is a politician who they say will bring much needed change to the country – a swing to the right after four elections won by the left.

For the past four years, Brazil has been consumed by a criminal investigation – known as Operation Car Wash – that has uncovered massive corruption.

 

Dozens of business and political leaders have been jailed. Among them was former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was barred from standing in the election.

The 63-year-old leads the Social Liberal Party (PSL), an anti-establishment group that combines social conservatism and pro-market policies.

Mr Bolsonaro is a deeply polarising figure who has had a divisive effect on Brazilians with both supporters and opponents taking to the streets to make their voices heard.

He has in the past defended the killing of opponents to the country’s former military regime and said he is “in favour of dictatorship”.

But after the results came in, he told supporters he would be a “defender of democracy” and uphold the constitution.

One of his flagship policies is to restore security by relaxing gun laws and suggested that “every honest citizen” should be able to own a gun.

He has promised to reduce state intervention in the economy and indicated that Brazil could pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

He takes over on January 1, 2019.

 

Is there a chance Mr Bolsonaro could soften his stance, now he’s won power? Few experts believe it. You only need to look to another firebrand in the continent for guidance. -BBC

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