LATEST: Bolsonaro has been elected Brazil’s next president, according to exit polls, with 56% of the national vote.
Today, Brazilians have gone to the polls in the second round of their presidential election. But unlike previous votes, this election has attracted a lot more press coverage worldwide and for one reason – the frontrunner is Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right authoritarian.
Described as ‘the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world‘, it is an understatement to say that Bolsonaro is a divisive figure. Amid a corruption scandal that plagued the ruling Workers’ Party and saw President Dilma Rousseff impeached and removed from office, he has slowly garnered support from those who wish to give the ‘establishment’ a bloody nose.
In April, after one of his main rivals was arrested, Bolsonaro became the front-runner and won the first round of the presidential election earlier this year with over 45 percent of the vote. Now, as he is set to become the most powerful person in Brazil, here’s a look at what we can expect from him should he win.
Bolsonaro is, without question, an extreme nationalist and supporter of far-right policies. As his campaign slogan suggests (Brazil above everything, God above everyone), he also shares many views of the Christian right. He has also been outspoken for his support for Brazil’s military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. Bolsonaro has repeatedly described the regime, guilty of a number of human rights abuses, as a ‘glorious’ period in the country’s history. As well as this, he has also called for the reinstatement of the death penalty and torture in Brazil.
Among his many controversial views, he is pro-life, anti-abortion and opposes secularisation of the state, stating in a 2017 speech: “God above everything. There is no such thing as this secular state. The state is Christian and the minority will have to change, if they can.”
He is opponent of same-sex marriage, describing it as a step towards the legalisation of paedophilia. Bolsonaro has also repeatedly made homophobic remarks, having once said he would rather his son die than be homosexual. In an interview with actor Ellen Page, he said: “Over time, due to liberal habits, drugs, with women also working, the number of homosexuals has really increased.”
In addition, he is strongly opposed to immigration, describing immigrants and refugees from ‘the scum of the world‘ as a threat and has also shown distrust towards China, claiming that they want to ‘buy Brazil‘.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, supports gun ownership and, amid a spike in violent crime in the country, has promised to allow law-abiding citizens to arm themselves. Such a move would be seen as popular, with polls showing 42% believing gun ownership should be a citizen’s right.
Many of his worst comments have been about women, and sparked controversy when he made a series of remarks about former Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário, describing her as not worth raping.
Much like Trump, Bolsonaro has also fueled mistrust of journalists and media organisations, with his followers harassing, intimidating and attacking members of the press.