A new dawn has surfaced in Brazil after the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal on Sunday declared far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro, winner of a keenly contested election.
Bolsonaro defeated his Leftist opponent Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party 55.5 per cent against 44.5 per cent of the votes with 96 per cent of ballots counted.
Far-right Bolsonaro now has a task of leading Latin America’s biggest country and the world’s fourth-largest democracy to traditional Brazilian values which he promised during his campaign.
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 right-wing positions.
But he also is very much a product of a political tempest in Brazil that made his messages less marginalized: widespread anger at the political class amid years of corruption, an economy that has struggled to recover after a punishing recession and a surge in violence.
The name of his party, PSL, translates to “Social Liberal Party,” although it largely abandoned its socially liberal platforms after he joined.
Bolstering his rebel image is his reputation for offensive statements and sometimes extreme views, including insulting women, black people and the LGBT community.
“I’m afraid to go out at night when it gets dark,” said Raquel Nunes, 27, a secretary from Sao Paulo and an avid Bolsonaro supporter, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
“But he’s going to solve this, he’s going to be firm, talking didn’t get us anywhere so we need to respond with force.”
In a highly unusual moment, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Jose Dias Toffoli, read out part of the Constitution to reporters after he voted.
“The future president must respect institutions, must respect democracy, the rule of law, the judiciary branch, the national Congress and the legislative branch,” Toffoli said in remarks many took to be a rebuke of Bolsonaro and his more extreme positions.
“We have everything we need to become a great nation,” Bolsonaro said Sunday night in a video broadcast on his Facebook account shortly after he won, as The New York Times noted. “Together we will change the destiny of Brazil.”
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