Brazil's Bolsonaro wins presidential run-off


Jair Bolsonaro's victory in the second round of presidential election voting on Sunday has moved Brazil sharply to the right after four elections won by the left-leaning Workers' Party.

Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician who has garnered comparisons to President Donald Trump, has won Brazil's presidential election, marking a dramatic shift to the right in the country's political landscape.

With 94 per cent of the ballots counted, Mr 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.

The longtime congressman pledged to govern "following the Bible and the constitution", and said: "We can not continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and the extremism of the left".

The former army captain, with close ties to the military, has alarmed many with pledges to sweep political opponents off the map and comments denigrating women, gays and racial minorities.

On Sunday, he voted at a military academy in Rio de Janeiro, ducking in through a side door to avoid the waiting crowd.

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Among those crises: Brazil's economy shrank almost seven percent during its worst-ever recession, from 2015 to 2016; the multi-billion-dollar Petrobras scandal has left voters disgusted with the seemingly bottomless corruption of politicians and business executives; and there is widespread outrage over violent crime, in a country that registered a record 63,880 murders previous year.

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate in front of his residence in Rio de Janeiro.

Weisbrot noted that Bolsonaro's rise was abetted by years of politicized attacks against the left-leaning Worker's Party, led by hard right actors in the media, the judiciary, and Brazil's Congress.

Meanwhile Bolsonaro's rival Haddad accepted defeat, saying he had a responsibility to join the political opposition.

With so much at stake, Chinese diplomats have reportedly met with top aides of the president-elect in recent weeks, seeking to underscore the lucrative trade relationship beneficial for both countries, said Reuters.

Bolsonaro's opponents have expressed concern that the new president held negative beliefs about women and homosexuals.

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Bolsonaro, who ran on promises to clean up Brazil and bring back "traditional values", said he would respect the constitution and personal liberty.

That instability unleashed extreme anger with the political class but also revealed deep divisions in Brazilian society, and this campaign was the most polarized in decades.

Miguel Tinker Salas, a Professor of Latin American Studies at Pomona College, weighs in from Washington DC. "We are going to change the destiny of Brazil", he said in his acceptance address.

Peter Prengaman is the AP's Brazil news director, based in Rio de Janeiro.

He did win the backing of Rodrigo Janot, Brazil's former prosecutor general under whose watch unprecedented corruption prosecutions took place. "Bolsonaro has claimed that the socialist Workers" Party (PT) was planning to promote a "gay kit" curriculum in schools and vowed to limit sexual education. Instead, they jockeyed for position, believing that whoever among the other dozen candidates placed second to Bolsonaro in the first round of voting October 7 would beat him in the runoff Sunday.

As only two candidates remain and those figures discard voters who say they will annul their votes, that in practice means Haddad needs to win 5 percentage points to overtake the right-winger. "I can't agree with that", said 21-year-old Souza, after casting his vote in Brasilia.

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