Far-right Congressman, Jair Bolsonaro is the new President-elect of Brazil after defeating Fernando Haddad of the Worker’s Party 55.1% - 44.9% in last week’s Presidential run-off.
Bolsonaro’s victory concludes months of a turbulent and often times violent campaign. Bolsonaro had to take a few weeks off from the campaign trail after being stabbed in the stomach in September.
Bolsonaro’s election comes amid a tumultuous time in Brazil. Government corruption is a major problem with President, Dilma Rousseff getting impeached in 2016 and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in prison for corruption. Da Silva was the front runner in this year’s election before being sent to jail. Brazil is also facing a slumping economy and rising crime rates, which all likely had an impact on the election results as voters pushed back against the “establishment”.
Many are comparing Bolsonaro’s rise to that of President Donald Trump’s as both were able to position themselves as strong outsiders rallying against the media and establishment politics. Bolsonaro however, has been making waves with his extreme rhetoric, at times voicing admiration for past and current dictators, advocating for state violence, and comparing homosexuality to pedophilia.
Just days after winning the election, Bolsonaro has already named the judge who jailed da Silva as his Justice Minister. Bolsonaro has also announced that he intends to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While a lot remains to be seen as to how Bolsonaro governs, it is clear that he is not afraid to make waves and plans to take a hardline stance on issues such as crime.