Ultra-Rightist Jair Bolsonaro, President-Elect of Brazil

April FrancisOct 29, 2018

One of the most freakish and violent democratic elections in recent world history concluded today in Brazil with the election of Jair Bolsonaro, a candidate who has been a lightning rod for controvery due to his inflammatory rhetoric, and who missed several weeks of campaigning after he suffered a life-threatening stab wound while on the campaign trail earlier this year.

Voters in Sunday's runoff election apparently looked past warnings that the brash former army captain would erode democracy and embraced a chance for radical change after years of turmoil.

But Mr. Haddad, his replacement, tried to tap into considerable anti-Bolsonaro sentiment but ultimately proved unable to replicate Mr. da Silva's traction and, worse, came to be viewed as a symbol of a corrupt establishment and a party drunk on power.

Bolsonaro, 63, a long-time congressman, will take office on January 1.

With nearly 99 percent of votes counted, the candidate of the fringe Social Liberal Party came in at 55.3 percent of votes, while his Workers' Party opponent, Fernando Haddad, captured 44.7 percent.

Many Brazilians are concerned that Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and a defender of its use of torture on leftist opponents, will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech.

A Datafolha poll also released late Saturday showed Bolsonaro had 55 percent and Haddad 45 percent.

Pinera tweeted to Bolsonaro: "I am sure we will work with vision and strength toward a future that will favor integration and the welfare of our people".

People set off fireworks on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach, and vehicle drivers honked their horns across the city Sunday.

Several hundred PT demonstrators protested Bolsonaro's victory on Sao Paulo's main Paulista Avenue before police dispersed them using tear gas.

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"He's made it clear that he doesn't want to sit and have dialogue with those that think different from him", said Pedro Igor Mantoun, 29, a corporate lawyer from Sao Paulo who voted for Haddad.

The presidential candidate has criticized China on his campaign trail, saying the Chinese should not be allowed to own Brazilian land or control key industries.

Final results are expected later Sunday.

The bitterness of Brazil's presidential election campaign so far doesn't seem to have spilled over into the voting itself. The far-right congressman received more than 55 percent of the vote.

Bolsonaro won a plurality in the first round of balloting earlier this month, but did not get 50% support.

After the results were announced supporters flooded the streets outside Bolsonaro's home in Rio de Janeiro, letting off fireworks and waving Brazilian flags. A popular anti-corruption judge, Joaquim Barbosa, who jailed several top PT leaders for corruption, also came out for Haddad.

"I still have hope Haddad can turn this around", said Mario Victor Santos, 58, former ombudsman for the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, which Bolsonaro has repeatedly claimed spread "fake news" about him.

On October 8, a man stabbed to death an Afro-Brazilian artist, Romualdo Rosário da Costa, in Salvador, allegedly after the man became angry when da Costa revealed he had voted for Haddad in the first election round.

Mr Haddad has promised a continuation of many progressive policies of his Workers' Party, which governed from 2003 to 2016.

Brazilians on Sunday will elect the country's next President amid one of the most polarising and violent political campaigns in its history which comes as the country continue to suffer from prolonged recession, rising insecurity and a massive corruption scandal that rocked political and financial institutions, reports CNN.

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