Far-right candidate wins first round in Brazil

 Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro

A far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election.

He will face the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the second round on October 28 after he failed to win the 50 per cent of valid votes needed to win outright.

With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bolsonaro had 46 per cent and Mr Haddad 29 per cent.

Opinion polls conducted before the election predicted that in a second round the two candidates would be tied.

Mr Bolsonaro’s once insignificant Social Liberal Party (PSL) is poised to become the largest force in Congress following legislative elections held alongside the presidential vote, in what analysts have described as a seismic shift in Brazilian politics.

The politician and the PSL have ridden a wave of rising anger at the Workers’ Party, which their supporters blame for a prolonged recession, rising violent crime and widespread corruption in South America’s largest economy.

 

In his victory speech, broadcast live on Facebook and uploaded on to Twitter, he said Brazilians could take the path of “prosperity, liberty, family, on God’s side” or the path of Venezuela.

Brazil’s socialist-led neighbour is mired in a deep economic and political crisis which has driven more than two million people to leave the country.

Across Latin America this has become a popular campaign strategy: don’t vote for the left or you will end up like Venezuela.

The former army captain has made provocative statements on a huge range of issues.

He has pledged tough punishments for offenders and the relaxing of gun ownership. He has also spoken of torture as a legitimate practice and wants to restore the death penalty.

 

His hard-line approach to law and order has brought back memories of the two-decade military dictatorship, and earned him backing from the military and those demanding greater safety in a country with rising levels of violent crime.

Misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric has prompted outrage and protests, and he has taken a strong anti-abortion stance.

 

Like Mr Trump, Mr Bolsonaro has criticised the Paris climate agreement, and he has vowed to make Brazil great again.

Economically, he favours a smaller state. He has announced plans to lower taxes privatise state companies and limit foreign ownership of natural resources.

 

The candidate believes selling off companies will help fight government corruption – one of the focuses of Operation Car Wash, a massive corruption investigation. -BBC

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