Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s Presidential election

Oct 29, 2018 17:02 IST
Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s Presidential election

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro was on October 28, 2018 declared as the winner of Brazil’s 2018 Presidential Elections by a wide margin. Bolsonaro swept the election results with 55.1 per cent of the votes cast, as against 44.8 per cent votes of his opponent, Fernando Haddad from the left-wing Workers' Party (PT).

Bolsonaro had also won the first round of the elections in October amid a field of 13 candidates, but he had fallen short of the 50 per cent needed to win out rightly and avoid a runoff against Haddad. The clear victory of Bolsonaro now marks a rightward swing in the largest democracy of Latin America, which was governed by the left-wing party for 13 years between 2003 and 2016. Since the past two years, the country had been led by a conservative, Michel Temer, who was elected following the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff. However, Temer had become deeply unpopular with Brazilians.

Bolsonaro had campaigned on a promise to eradicate corruption and to drive down Brazil's high crime levels. He will be sworn into his new post on January 1, 2019.

Aggressive Campaign

Many termed the presidential campaign of both Bolsonaro and Haddad as extremely aggressive and division. Each camp argued that victory for the other could destroy Brazil.

As a result of the hostility, dozens of politically motivated acts of violence were registered by voters, journalist and politicians.

In fact, the 63-year-old Bolsonaro was stabbed in the stomach last month during a rally in the city of Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais state.

While the stabbing took him off the campaign trail for weeks as he recovered, it strengthened his position among Brazilians looking for a change.

#Nothim Campaign

Bolsonaro’s increased visibility prompted a social media backlash known as #elenao, or #nothim, which gained support throughout the country and internationally.

The right-winger was also compared to US President Donald Trump and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, due to his misogynistic, racist and homophobic remarks.

He once told a congresswoman that she did not deserve to be raped because she was "very ugly”.

He also said publicly he'd prefer to see his son "die in an accident" than a member of his family be homosexual.

  Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s Presidential election

Besides this, Bolsonaro’s opponents voiced concerns that his victory could threaten human rights and ecological preservation in the world's fourth-largest democracy.

Bolsonaro's promises to open up tracks of the Amazon rainforest to development led environmental groups to say that his election would be a "profound setback."

According to the environmental groups, Bolsonaro’s plans to industrialise the Amazon in concert with Brazilian and international agribusiness and mining sectors will bring untold destruction to the planet's largest rainforest and spell disaster for the global climate.

About Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro, aged 63, is a retired army officer and member of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), an anti-establishment group that combines social conservatism and pro-market policies.

Casting himself as a political outsider, Bolsonaro ran a campaign characterised by violent talk and far-right positions.

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".

Two years ago he commented that the dictatorship's mistake was "to torture and not kill" leftist dissidents, and during his campaign he vowed to send opponents "into exile or into prison".

However, after the results were announced, he said that he would be a "defender of democracy" and uphold the constitution.

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

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

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