Jair Bolsonaro: Far-right candidate wins first round of Brazil
[October 08 2018]
Jair Bolsonaro (left) and Fernando Haddad will face
each other in a run-off
A far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has won the
first round of Brazil's presidential election.
He will face the left-wing Workers' Party candidate,
Fernando Haddad, in the second round on 28 October after he failed to
win the 50% of valid votes needed to win outright.
With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bolsonaro had
46% and Mr Haddad 29%.
Opinion polls conducted before the election predicted
that in a second round the two candidates would be tied.
Mr Bolsonaro's once insignificant Social Liberal Party
(PSL) is poised to become the largest force in Congress following
legislative elections held alongside the presidential vote, in what
analysts have described as a seismic shift in Brazilian politics.
The politician and the PSL have ridden a wave of
rising anger at the Workers' Party, which their supporters blame for a
prolonged recession, rising violent crime and widespread corruption in
South America's largest economy.
In his victory speech, broadcast live on Facebook and
uploaded on to Twitter, he said Brazilians could take the path of
"prosperity, liberty, family, on God's side" or the path of Venezuela.
Brazil's socialist-led neighbour is mired in a deep
economic and political crisis which has driven more than two million
people to leave.
Across Latin America this has become a popular
campaign strategy: don't vote for the left or you will end up like
Why is Bolsonaro so controversial?
The former army captain has made provocative
statements on a huge range of issues.
He has pledged tough punishments for offenders and the
relaxing of gun ownership. He has also spoken of torture as a legitimate
practice and wants to restore the death penalty.
His hard-line approach to law and order has brought
back memories of the two-decade military dictatorship, and earned him
backing from the military and those demanding greater safety in a
country with rising levels of violent crime
Jair Bolsonaro has strong support within the armed
Misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric has prompted
outrage and protests, and he has taken a strong anti-abortion stance.
Like Mr Trump, Mr Bolsonaro has criticised the Paris
climate agreement, and he has vowed to make Brazil great again.
Economically, he favours a smaller state. He has
announced plans to lower taxes, privatise state companies and limit
foreign ownership of natural resources.
The candidate believes selling off companies will help
fight government corruption - one of the focuses of Operation Car Wash,
a massive corruption investigation.
Mr Bolsonaro was stabbed on the campaign trail,
drawing intense media attention to him and his policies.
The 'least worst' candidate
Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent
Jair Bolsonaro expected to win the presidency in this
first round, even if the polls said otherwise. "On the 28th October, we
can all go to the beach," he said, as he turned up to vote on Sunday.
His supporters had been saying for weeks that their candidate would win
this straight out.
Mr Bolsonaro may have soared in the polls recently but
Brazilians are going to have to wait another three weeks to find out
whether it'll be him or Fernando Haddad as Brazil's new leader.
Brazil feels very divided - and fragile. You could
feel it when you talked to voters. So many people have told me they
would be voting for the "least worst" candidate. On one side, there are
those determined never to allow the Workers' Party to rule again; on the
other, those desperately trying not to allow a far-right candidate to
rule this young democracy.
A feeling of nervousness hangs over Brazil - and will
do for the next few weeks as both candidates ramp up their campaigning
once again. The future of Brazil will vary greatly, depending on who
Who supports Bolsonaro?
He has won over many Brazilians who think his
law-and-order stance will make Brazil safer.
A Roman Catholic, he has also attracted the support of
millions of evangelical Christians by saying he will defend traditional
Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrated outside his home in Rio de Janeiro
Several prominent Brazilian footballers have endorsed
his candidacy including World Cup winner Ronaldinho, Palmeiras
midfielder Felipe Melo and Tottenham Hotspur winger Lucas Moura.
Results showed Mr Bolsonaro dominating Brazil's two
biggest states, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. However, the country's
north-east showed more loyalty to the Workers' Party, having benefited
from its social policies.
Centre-left presidential candidate Ciro Gomes got the
most support in the state of Cear , where he has lived for most of his
In Sao Paulo, Mr Bolsonaro's son Eduardo was
re-elected as a state deputy, receiving more votes than any other
lower-house candidate in Brazil's history.
Eduardo Bolsanaro has previously tweeted a photo of
himself and former chief strategist to US President Donald Trump, Steve
Bannon - who, he says, is "in touch" with his father's campaign to help
fight "cultural Marxism"
How did the election pass off?
Mr Bolsonaro said that he was certain that if there
had not been "problems" with the electronic voting system used in
Brazil, he would have won outright.
Brazil's electoral authorities have said the vote went
ahead peacefully and without any major problems.
What does Haddad advocate?
Fernando Haddad was visibly relieved that there would be a second round
He has portrayed himself as a trusted candidate for
those who baulk at Mr Bolsonaro's style and rhetoric.
After reaching the second round, he said he and the
Workers' Party would "only use arguments, we don't use any guns".
Referring to Mr Bolsonaro's lead, he said he felt
"challenged by the results, which alert us to the risks Brazilian
democracy is facing".
"We need to approach this with a sense of
responsibility," he told his cheering supporters. "We want to unite the
democrats of this country, to reduce inequality and to achieve social
He said he and his party had been presented with "a
golden opportunity" by making it into the second round
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