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Far-right Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil elections; he has been called the 'Trump of Brazil'

Jair Bolsonaro. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Oct 29, 2018, 05.54 AM (IST)

Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil's presidential election on Sunday (October 28), riding a wave of frustration over corruption and crime that brought a dramatic swing to the right in the world's fourth-largest democracy.

With 94 per cent of ballots counted, Bolsonaro had 56 per cent of the votes in the run-off election against left-wing hopeful Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party (PT), who had 44 per cent, according to the electoral authority TSE.

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.

Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters cheered and set off fireworks outside his home in Rio de Janeiro's Barra de Tijuca beachfront neighbourhood as his victory was announced. In Brazil's commercial capital of Sao Paulo, Bolsonaro's win was greeted with fireworks and the honking of car horns.

Many Brazilians are concerned that Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and a defender of its use of torture on leftist opponents, will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech. Bolsonaro has been called the "Trump of Brazil".

The 63-year-old seven-term congressman has vowed to crack down on crime in Brazil's cities and farm belt by granting police more autonomy to shoot at criminals. He also wants to let more Brazilians buy weapons to fight crime.

Story highlights

Many Brazilians are concerned that Bolsonaro, an admirer of Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and a defender of its use of torture on leftist opponents, will trample on human rights, curtail civil liberties and muzzle freedom of speech.