Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has won Brazil’s presidential election following a divisive campaign. Official results show he won 56% of the vote with 94% of ballots counted, in Sunday’s run-off against Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers Party.
In a victory speech broadcast live on Facebook, the president-elect vowed to “change Brazil’s destiny together” and pledged to follow “the bible and the constitution”. Dubbed Brazil’s Donald Trump, his policies include loosening gun ownership laws and allowing police to use more force.
His numbers jumped by around 15% in September after he was stabbed in the stomach during a campaign event.
Supporters celebrated in the streets after the win
His campaign also pledged a crackdown on crime and he plans to ease restrictions on the development of indigenous lands, privatise many state enterprises and reform pensions.
Supporters celebrated in the streets, setting off fireworks at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, and in Sao Paulo they gathered on the central avenue with banners and flags.
Donald Trump also phoned the president elect to congratulate him, and both leaders expressed a commitment to work together.
Casting himself as a political outsider, Mr Bolsonaro ran a campaign characterised by violent talk and far-right positions, including praise for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, support for torture, and outright racism, misogyny and homophobia.
Two years ago he commented that the dictatorship’s mistake was “to torture and not kill” leftist dissidents, and during his campaign he vowed to send opponents “into exile or into prison”.
The former army captain has commented that he would rather his sons die than come out as gay, and told a female politician that she “wasn’t worth raping”.
His opponent Mr Haddad had warned on Sunday that democracy and freedom were “at risk” in the election, echoing widespread fears that a Bolsonaro win would spell disaster for human rights and civil liberties.
But for a majority of Brazilian voters that did not eclipse the appeal of a man seen as promising radical change, in a country mired by years of political corruption, violence and an economic recession.
Mr Bolsonaro made a speech on Facebook livestream. Pic: Jair Messias Bolsonaro / Facebook
Many in the country are furious with the Workers Party over its involvement in a graft scheme known as the carwash, and Mr Bolsonaro has pledged to crack down on corruption and reduce the number of state ministries.
Mr Bolsonaro was a clear front runner for much of the campaign, winning 46% to Mr Haddad’s 29% in the first round of elections on 7 October.
But the race narrowed after last-minute criticism over the weekend – including from a supreme court justice who tweeted he was “scared” by a Bolsonaro presidency, and a prominent YouTuber.
In a highly unusual move supreme court justice Jose Dias Toffoli read parts of the constitution to reporters after he voted, stressing that “the future president must respect institutions, must respect democracy, the rule of law”.
Following news of his defeat Mr Haddad, with around 44% of the vote, vowed to “defend the freedoms of the 45 million” people who backed him in the election.
The left-winger had promised to bring back the boom years Brazil experienced under left-winger Lula da Silva, who led initial polls by a wide margin but was banned from running in the election due to a corruption conviction.