Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazilian presidential election

Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazilian presidential election

Along with his rejection of socialist policies and condemnation of political corruption, Bolsonaro's message has focused on cracking down on crime by empowering law enforcement and encouraging gun ownership for citizens to defend themselves. He's now been announced as the president-elect.

Recent polls showed Bolsonaro with an 8 to 10 point lead over his rival, leftist candidate Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party.

Bolsonaro's win alarmed critics around the globe, mainly because of his vows to sweep away leftist political opponents and his history of making insulting comments about gays, women and minorities.

"I just congratulated the president-elect Jair Bolsonaro for the historic victory won today". In March, Marielle Franco, a lesbian city councilor in Rio de Janeiro, was shot and killed.

Bolsonaro has always been a source of controversy in Brazil, appalling his many critics while energizing his base of supporters who admire what they see as his "straight talk".

Bolsonaro's all but certain victory in the second round has sparked a vibrant protest movement, that saw thousands of women taking to streets to say "Ele nao" or "Not him" in Portuguese.

Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is taken on the shoulders of a supporter moments before being stabbed during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, Sept. 6, 2018.

"God willing, tomorrow will be our new independence day", he tweeted.

A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro salutes during a celebration in front of his residence after he was declared the victor of the election runoff, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday.

Bolsonaro comes to the presidency prompted by the protest vote of millions of Brazilians tired of corruption scandals, the economic crisis and the wave of violence that has punished the country in recent years.

Amid the celebrations by Bolsonaro's supporters, there were also reports of some clashes between his backers and opponents.

In contradictory fashion, Bolsonaro last night promised to be "a defender of the constitution, democracy and freedom" when he takes office on 1 January. "We are going to change the destiny of Brazil".

He pledged to govern "following the Bible and the constitution", and said: "We can not continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and the extremism of the left".

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The Latin American giant's election comes on the heels of its worst-ever recession, a staggering multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal and a year of record-setting violent crime. He has also made a number of racist remarks in the past, infamously saying that descendants of Brazilian slaves "don't do anything", and, "I don't think they're even good for procreation anymore". He twice told a female colleague in Congress she was too ugly to be raped, said a dead son was preferable to a gay one and often disparaged blacks and indigenous people.

He had struggled to overcome voters hatred of the Workers Party. Hundreds of politicians, including former President Lula, have been arrested and jailed in a judicial investigation that has exposed corruption at the highest levels of government.

Bolsonaro has pledged to privatise an array of state enterprises, including units of oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and power utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras).

The environmental group Amazon Watch warned victory for Bolsonaro - who has vowed not to let conservation programs interfere with agro-industry - "spells disaster for the Brazilian Amazon".

He once said the dictatorship's "mistake" was that it tortured, instead of killing, leftist dissidents and suspected sympathizers.

The election was decided as much by Brazilians voting against something as for it.

"I'm not very enthusiastic, because I don't really like either candidate", Elias Chaim, 23, an engineering student and music producer, told AFP at a polling station facing the legendary beach of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.

In a Datafolha poll also released late Saturday, Bolsonaro had 55 percent of voter backing, compared with 45 percent for Haddad.

In Sao Paulo, the economic capital, Marcos Kotait, 40, a publicist, said he had "never seen such a polarized election".

Dubbed the "Tropical Trump" by some, Bolsonaro publicly admires the American leader.

"Bolsonaro represents a rupture in democracy, a threat to democracy, because he has authoritarian thoughts".

The results are expected around 2300 GMT.

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