Sunday 16 December 2018

Far-right candidate wins Brazilian presidency

Loving: Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro kisses wife Michelle before casting their votes in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Reuters
Loving: Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro kisses wife Michelle before casting their votes in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Reuters

Bruce Douglas in Sao Paolo

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro will be the next president of Brazil after he won more than 55pc of yesterday's vote in a divisive election.

His challenger, leftist Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party, picked up 44pc, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Mr Bolsonaro went into yesterday the clear front-runner after getting 46pc of the vote to Mr Haddad's 29pc in the first round of the election on October 7, which had 13 contenders.

After opinion polls in recent weeks had Mr Bolsonaro leading by as much as 18 percentage points, the race had tightened in recent days as several Brazilian heavyweights came out against him, arguing that he was a direct risk to the world's fourth-largest democracy.

Mr Bolsonaro, who cast himself as a political outsider despite a 27-year career in Congress, is the latest of several leaders around the globe to gain prominence by mixing tough, often violent talk with hard-right positions.

But he is also very much a product of a perfect storm in Brazil that made his messages less marginalised.

There is widespread anger at the political class following years of corruption, the economy has struggled to recover after a punishing recession and there has been a surge in violence.

Mr Bolsonaro has raised serious concerns that he will roll back civil rights and weaken institutions in what remains a young democracy.

Irish Independent

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