Saturday 15 June 2019

Far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro sworn in as president of Brazil

Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro cries after the swearing-in ceremony as he leaves Brazil's National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil
Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro cries after the swearing-in ceremony as he leaves Brazil's National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil

Yesica Fisch, Mauricio Savarese and Peter Prengaman

Jair Bolsonaro has been sworn in as Brazil's president and promised to overhaul several aspects of daily life and put an end to business-as-usual governing.

For the far-right former army captain, the New Year's Day inauguration was the culmination of a journey from a marginalised and even ridiculed congressmen to a leader who many Brazilians hope can combat endemic corruption.

A fan of US President Donald Trump, the 63-year-old long-time congressman rose to power on an anti-corruption and pro-gun agenda that has energised conservatives and hard-right supporters after four consecutive presidential election wins by the left-leaning Workers' Party.

Mr Bolsonaro was the latest of several far-right leaders around the globe who have come to power by riding waves of anger at the establishment and promising to ditch the status quo.

"Congratulations to President @jairbolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech," Trump tweeted. "The USA is with you!"

Tuesday's festivities in the capital Brasilia began with a motorcade procession along the main road leading to Congress and other government buildings.

Mr Bolsonaro and his wife, Michelle, stood up in an open-top Rolls-Royce and waved to thousands of onlookers.

They were surrounded by dozens of guards on horses and plain-clothes bodyguards who ran beside the car.

Once inside Congress, Mr Bolsonaro and his vice president, retired Gen Hamilton Mourao, took the oath of office.

Mr Bolsonaro then read a short speech that included many of the far-right positions he staked out during the campaign.

He promised to combat the "ideology of gender" teaching in schools, "respect our Judeo-Christian tradition" and "prepare children for the job market, not political militancy".

"I call on all congressmen to help me rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission," he said.

Press Association

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