Jair Bolsonaro: Far-right candidate wins Brazil poll

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Jair Bolsonaro (BBC image)

Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro has won a sweeping victory in Brazil’s presidential election.

The former army captain won 55.2% of the vote against 44.8% for Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party.

Mr Bolsonaro’s pledge to fight crime and corruption following a string of scandals have won him mass support.

However critics are worried by his praise of Brazil’s former dictatorship, and by his comments on race, women and homosexuality.

In one infamous incident in 2015 he told a fellow lawmaker she was too ugly to rape.

For supporters, he is a politician who they say will bring much needed change to the country – a swing to the right after four elections won by the left.

For the past four years, Brazil has been consumed by a criminal investigation – known as Operation Car Wash – that has uncovered massive corruption.

Dozens of business and political leaders have been jailed. Among them was former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was barred from standing in the election.

The 63-year-old leads the Social Liberal Party (PSL), an anti-establishment group that combines social conservatism and pro-market policies.

Mr Bolsonaro is a deeply polarising figure whose controversial remarks earned him the nickname of “Trump of the Tropics”.

He has the past defended the killing of opponents to the country’s former military regime and said he is “in favour of dictatorship”.

But after the results came in, he told supporters he would be a “defender of democracy” and uphold the constitution.

One of his flagship policies is to restore security by relaxing gun laws and suggested that “every honest citizens” should be able to own a gun.

He has promised to reduce state intervention in the economy and indicated that Brazil could pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

He takes over on 1 January 2019. (Excerpts from BBC)

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