Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential elections, signalling a political shift for South America’s most populous nation and largest economy. Bolsonaro a 56 percent share of the vote in Sunday’s runoff, ahead of Fernando Haddad, the candidate of the centre-left Workers’ Party (PT), who had 44 percent. In his speech, Bolsonaro said during the campaing he would always say that Brazil “could no longer be flirting with socialism, communism, populism and extremism on the left,” .
Bolsonaro said US President Donald Trump – whom he has expressed admiration for – called to wish him good luck after his victory in what he called “obviously a very friendly contact”. Bolsonaro pledged to defend “the constitution, democracy and freedom” after winning the polarising election, denying accusations he’ll veer Brazil towards authoritarianism. “This is not the promise of a party, nor the word of a man. It is an oath before God,” he said in his victory speech.
PT had won the last four elections in Brazil, while its popular founder Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva was the front runner this year until being barred from running in September because of a corruption conviction. Throughout the campaign, Bolsonaro said He wants to increase gun ownership and has pledged to give police “carta Branca” to kill. Bolsonaro’s rise from a fringe congressman to the presidency has come against a backdrop of economic downturn, political turmoil, mammoth corruption scandals and rising violence.
Bolsonaro – a former army captain – is an outspoken supporter of Brazil’s brutal and repressive 1964-1985 military dictatorship, a period when hundreds of political opponents were murdered by the state and thousands more tortured. Last Sunday, during a confrontational speech transmitted to thousands of supporters, Bolsonaro said “red [leftist] criminals” would be “banished from our homeland” and pledged a “cleansing never seen before”. After suffering defeat, Haddad said on Sunday he would work to “defend the freedoms of these 45 million” people who voted for him.
Brazilians wanted change and the result is clear, whats is not clear yet is the position of the country now about human rights, and other rights that Bolsonaro and his religious group consider extremism on the left.