News World Far right-winger Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil presidency

Far right-winger Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil presidency

Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party in Brazil. Photo: Getty
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Add Brazil to the list of countries embracing far-right authoritarian politics.

Former Army captain Jair Bolsonaro won the country’s presidential election on Sunday, riding a wave of frustration over corruption and crime that brought a dramatic swing to the right in the world’s fourth-largest democracy, official results show.

With 94 per cent of the ballots counted, Bolsonaro had 56 per cent of the votes in the run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who had 44 per cent, according to the electoral authority TSE.

Bolsonaro’s rise has been propelled by rejection of the leftist PT that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and was ousted two years ago in the midst of a deep recession and political graft scandal.

Laura Chinchilla, the former president of Costa Rica who is head of the Organization of American States’ Electoral Observation Mission, said the vote had been calm and orderly across the country, which has suffered a spate of partisan violence during the campaign.

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.

The 63-year-old seven-term congressman has vowed to crack down on crime in Brazil’s cities and farm belt by granting police more autonomy to shoot at criminals.

He also wants to let more Brazilians buy weapons to fight crime.
In a highly unusual moment, the chief justice of Brazil’s 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.