2018 gave Brazil a far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro

WION Web Team Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dec 18, 2018, 03.34 PM(IST)

Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Born in 1955 to a Catholic family with Italian roots, Bolsonaro served as a paratrooper in the military before starting his political career.

Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil's presidential election in October this year, riding a wave of frustration over corruption and crime that brought a dramatic swing to the right in the world's fourth-largest democracy.

The former army captain's rise has been propelled by the rejection of the Leftist PT that ran Brazil for 13 of the last 15 years and was ousted two years ago in the midst of a deep recession and political graft scandal.

Bolsonaro, 63, has built an image as a political outsider ready to rough up the establishment - no small feat given that, unlike the US president, he is a longtime politician.

The seven-term congressman has few legislative initiatives to his record but, crucially, has not been caught up in the massive corruption scandals that have made Brazilians furious with the political class in recent years.

However, he has made enemies with his denigrating comments on women, gays and blacks, while fondly recalling Brazil's brutal military dictatorship (1964-1985), in which he served as an army captain.

Bolsonaro calls himself an admirer of Donald Trump, and has similarly tapped a deep national malaise - in Brazil's case, one caused by crime, an ailing economy and the never-ending "Car Wash" corruption scandal that has stoked fury at the political class.

Born in 1955 to a Catholic family with Italian roots, Bolsonaro served as a paratrooper in the military before starting his political career in 1988 as a Rio de Janeiro city councilor.

Two years later, he was elected to the lower house of Congress, where he has been since.

He has ignited one explosive controversy after another with his misogynist and racist remarks.

In 2003, he said a female lawmaker he opposed was "not worth raping."

In 2011, he told Playboy magazine he would rather his sons be killed in an accident than come out as gay.

In 2016, he dedicated his vote to impeach leftist former president Dilma Rousseff to the military officer who headed the torture unit where she was detained as a political prisoner during the dictatorship.

With piercing blue eyes, Bolsonaro was known for his physical strength in his army days - earning the nickname "Big Horse."

Today, his most fervent supporters have given him another nickname, the "Myth" - an image only bolstered when he survived the stabbing attack last month.

Bolsonaro has four sons - three of them politicians - and, in what he called a moment of "weakness," a daughter.