RIO DE JANEIRO – A former firearms ex-army captain swept to victory in Brazil's presidential election. He joined the growing ranks of establishment leaders around the world, sharply pushing the largest country in Latin America to the right.
Jair Bolsonaro, a champion of Brazil's right-wing dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, in which he once served, had 55.1% of the votes against Fernando Haddad of the Left Workers' Party on Sunday evening with almost all votes.
A member of the congress, Mr Bolsonaro, has committed himself to launching a new era of "order and progress" – Brazil's national slogan that lures its flag – rich and poor voters tired of endemic corruption and frightened crimes to have.
Mauro Pimentel / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
But after years of martial speeches, which have often insulted women, gays and black Brazilians, and have also threatened his opponents, Mr Bolsonaro has adopted a conciliatory tone after Sunday's result.
"You are my witnesses that this The government will be an advocate of the Constitution, democracy and freedom, and this is not just the promise of a party or the empty words of a man, but an oath to God," said He televised from his home in Rio de Janeiro, where he recovered from an almost deadly attack in the campaign. Flanked by his wife, sign language interpreter and black military member, he pledged to unite the Brazilians, reiterated his plans to reform public finances and negotiate further trade agreements with industrialized countries. In a later video posted on Facebook, he said President Trump called him to "wish us good luck".
Mr. Bolsonaro, a devout Christian who was recently baptized at the Jordan River, also prayed with evangelical leaders as thousands of supporters gathered outside his house, started fireworks and waved Brazil's yellow-and-green national flag.
"We know he's not perfect He's a human like the rest of us, he says stupid stuff, he's gross, but still he's the best hope we have for a better Brazil," said Eliana Falcão, a 41-year-old elementary school teacher, painted with green and yellow stripes on her face. Like many of Bolsonaro's supporters, she voted for the military to prevent the return of Haddad's Labor Party. "We want to get rid of this gang of left wings," she exclaimed over the cheers of the crowd.
During the campaign, Haddad, the candidate for former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was arrested for corruption this year, fought to overcome voters 'hatred of the workers' party.
It ruled Brazil for the past 15 years, overseeing the country's deepest recession and the massive corruption scandal Car Wash.
Mr. Haddad said after Sunday's result that he would continue to watch over his supporters, Mr. Bolsonaro will push back gay and women's rights, harass political opponents and pose a threat to the country's young democracy.
"I saw the fear and fear on the faces of many people … but do not worry, we will be here, we will be with you," he said.
Sunday's poll ends one of Brazil's most turbulent campaigns of recent history, which has sparked fierce feuds between families and friends.
After surviving the attack in September, Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old, has mainly promoted from his home in Rio de Janeiro, mobilizing supporters and ridiculing opponents via social media.
In the meantime, Mr. da Silva has continued to call the shots for the Labor Party from his police cell in southern Brazil, frequent meetings with Mr. Haddad, who has registered as his lawyer to secure regular visitation rights.
Amanda Perobelli / Reuters
"I have never seen so much anger," said Wanderlei Guedes, a 25-year-old clinical psychologist in Brasília, who said his patients increasingly came to him after arguing with friends and work colleagues about the election.
Mr. Bolsonaro's victory marked the break of a party system built after the end of military rule in the mid-1980s, reflecting both the rise of anti-establishment politics and populist nationalism around the world
Run for the hitherto little-known conservative PSL party Mr. Bolsonaro is the first presidential winner since 1989 who is not from the Labor Party or the Brazilian PSDB party.
"Bolsonaro won the presidential election with a comfortable lead and rode on a strong anti-establishment wave of voter anger against Brazil's traditional parties and politicians," said Christopher Garman of the political venture firm Eurasia Group, but added that he is likely one hard way ahead of you. Voter callousness means that he is likely to enjoy only a short honeymoon, making it even harder to insist on the profound tax reforms he has promised, especially as he has vowed not to swap government offices for congressional support. "His unorthodox campaign looks like it will lead to an unorthodox government," Mr. Garman said.
Mr. Bolsonaro's rise surprised in recent months experts and rivals. He gained supporters ranging from billionaire bankers to tribesmen in the Amazon region, and appealed to voters across class and social boundaries, even conversions by former supporters of Mr. da Silva.
His pledge to give the police carte blanche, kill alleged criminals and breed civilians self-defense found support in a country with almost 64,000 murders last year.
"I'm afraid to go out at night when it gets dark," said Raquel Nunes, 27, a secretary from São Paulo and an enthusiastic Mr. Bolsonaro supporter. "But he will solve that, he will be tough, talking has taken us nowhere, so we have to react by force."
Mr Bolsonaro, an advocate of traditional family values, now gained support among evangelical Christians for one-third of the Brazilian population, while his plan to open the economy and reduce public debt by 20% made him equally loyal supporters in the financial markets.
Brazil's equities and currencies have risen by more than 10% since mid-September on the prospect of its victory.
But his comments on beating the kids to prevent them from "getting gay" and arguing that women earn lower wages than men have shocked voters' vows.
This includes many of his own supporters saying that they supported the military as the only available alternative to the Labor Party.
Mr. Bolsonaro's opponents fear his plans to facilitate environmental controls to boost mining and agricultural activities will have devastating effects on the Amazon rainforest.
They also point to his public defense of torture and his election of army generals to important government offices as a threat to democracy.
While many poorer voters are still on the side of the Labor Party and Mr. da Silva, Brazil charismatic The first working-class president, some say that they are now ready to take a risk with Mr. Bolsonaro, hopeful that he will order can recover in the economy and on the roads.
"It's the only chance we have for a change," said Rafaela Teixeira, 42, a coconut water vendor based in Rio de Janeiro, who grew up in one of the city's slums. Brazil's high murder rates are bad for the business, she said. "Foreigners do not want to come here just because there is a lack of security and everyone dies in the middle of the street."
How many voters said on Sunday that the impeachment of Mr. da Silva's successor, Dilma Rousseff, had given her the confidence to try a more radical president. When Mr. Bolsonaro is likely to take office on January 1, he will have to satisfy people to keep his job, Ms. Teixeira said. "If not, we'll take him by the collar and kick him out, just like we did Dilma."
Jeffrey T. Lewis and Paulo Trevisani contributed to this article.
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