Far-Right Bolsonaro Becomes Brazil President

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

In an announcement by the electoral authority Sunday, Mr Bolsonaro won 55.2% of the votes cast against 44.8% for Fernando Haddad from the left-wing Workers’ Party.

Mr Bolsonaro campaigned on a promise to eradicate corruption and to drive down Brazil’s high crime levels in a deeply divisive poll that saw each camp argue that victory for the other could destroy Brazil.

Mr Bolsonaro’s victory constitutes a markedly rightward swing in the largest democracy in Latin America, which was governed by the left-wing Workers’ Party for 13 years between 2003 and 2016.

Jubilation outside Bosonaro’s home. Image: BBC

For the past two years, the country has been led by a conservative, Michel Temer, following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

While Temer leaves office hugely unpopular, voters clamoured for change and Mr Bolsonaro’s 10-percentage-point victory means the vision he laid out to voters of a Brazil where law and order and family values would be made the priority won out.

He said his government would be a “defender of democracy and the constitution”.

“This is not the promise of a party, nor the word of a man. It is an oath before God.”

Mr Bolsonaro went on to tell his cheering supporters: “The commitment I made to the Brazilian people was to create a decent government… And I guarantee you that I will.

“We will change Brazil’s destiny together.”

Despair for supporters of Fernando Haddad

Critics of Mr Bolsonaro are worried that the former army captain, who has expressed nostalgia for the years Brazil was under military rule, may curtail citizens’ freedoms and undermine Brazil’s constitution.

They are also worried about the rights of minorities following homophobic, racist and misogynistic remarks Mr Bolsonaro made during the campaign and before.

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