Brazilians elect firebrand Bolsonaro in major shift
Rio De Janeiro/Brasilia: Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right firebrand former Army captain, won Brazil’s presidential election in convincing fashion, wooing voters with promises to gut endemic political corruption and wage a brutal battle against powerful drug gangs.
Bolsonaro, who early in his legislative career declared he was “in favour” of dictatorships and demanded that Congress be disbanded, vowed after his Sunday night win to adhere to democratic principles while holding up a copy of the country’s Constitution.
US President Donald Trump said he had an “excellent call” congratulating Bolsonaro and tweeted about their plans to “work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!”
Markets also cheered Bolsonaro’s victory, sending Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index to an all-time high on his pledges to balance the federal budget and privatize state firms.
Bolsonaro’s transition team planned to meet on Monday with President Michel Temer’s team to start work ahead of his Jan. 1 inauguration.
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.
His victory brings Brazil’s military back into the political limelight after it spent three decades in the barracks following the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship. Several retired generals will serve as ministers and close advisers.
“You are all my witnesses that this government will defend the constitution, of liberty and of God,” Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live video in his first comments after his victory.