Jair Bolsonaro 'will not moderate rhetoric' in push for Brazil presidency

09 October, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Carlos George
  • Brazil’s right-wing Bolsonaro narrowly misses first round win in presidential election

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has repeatedly expressed sexist, homophobic and racist opinions while supporting military dictatorship and torture, fell short of an outright victory by 4 percent in the first round of the elections and will face Haddad in an October 28 run-off.

If the exit polls are confirmed, he will face Fernando Haddad from the left-wing Workers' Party in the second round on 28 October. If no one gets a majority in the first round, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff.

But little in this election has gone to plan, and Mr Bolsonaro's strong showing reflects a yearning for the past as much as a sign of the future.

Better-off Brazilians have rallied to Bolsonaro's pledge to crush crime in a country where there are more than 62,000 murders each year, almost as many rapes, and frequent muggings and robberies.

"We are seeing a conservative or centre-right tsunami that has produced the biggest change in Brazil's political landscape for the past few decades", Stuenkel said.

His grassroots social media campaign electrified the PSL, pushed it further to the right and raised the profile of candidates such as Olimpio Gomes, a former military police major, the most-voted candidate for the Senate in São Paulo Sunday.

Senna said he was anxious that Bolsonaro's presidential rivals would gang up on him and back Haddad in the runoff.

Haddad may yet gain the backing of other candidates in the race, but that might just feed Bolsonaro's criticism that traditional politicians are only interested in protecting their own.

Some voters - particularly women - wore "Not Him" slogans to polling stations, declaring their fierce opposition to Bolsonaro.

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Reflecting confidence that he will win the second round, Bolsonaro said he had already begun talks with other lawmakers in Congress to build an eventual governing coalition.

"Bolsonaro has an advantage over Haddad, he's in a growth curve. for him to lose from here, it's not about Haddad getting it right, it's about him making mistakes", he added.

Haddad called on Brazilians to unite behind him, warning that the 1988 Constitution that underpinned Brazil's young democracy was under threat.

Bolsonaro's surge in opinion polls prompted a rally in recent days in Brazil's currency and stock market.

"We'll speak with anybody who wishes to talk with us now, which is interesting because many of them did not want to have a dialogue with us before the first-round vote", Lorenzoni said.

Many voters also like his promises to tackle corruption and cut climbing public debt through privatizations, as well as the devout Catholic's family-first stance.

Haddad, a former education minister and one-term mayor of Sao Paulo, had portrayed a vote for him as a show of support for Workers Party founder and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom many voters associate with good economic times and falling inequality.

Congressman Onyx Lorenzoni, the main political advisor to Bolsonaro, said his team was targeting individual lawmakers in parties opposed to the PT, including those in parties whose leaders do not yet support the right-winger.

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