Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s shift to the right brings fear and celebration

Written by October 29, 2018 19:15

New Delhi: Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential elections, signalling a political shift for South America’s most populous nation and largest economy.

With 56% of the votes, Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), defeated Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, becoming the latest in a string of far-right populist leaders who have ascended to power around the world.

His left-wing rival meanwhile has vowed to mount a vigorous opposition and rights groups have warned against a rollback of civil liberties.

Results give Bolsonaro a 56 percent share of runoff vote, comfortably ahead of centre-left opponent Fernando Haddad.

The two perspectives underscore the reality that the end of the election was not the end of acrimony and that myriad challenges lay ahead for Latin America’s largest nation.

“This country belongs to all of us, Brazilians by birth or by heart, a Brazil of diverse opinions, colours and orientations,” he said in some of his first words to the nation.

His victory moved Brazil, the world’s fourth-largest democracy, sharply to the right after four consecutive elections in which candidates from the left-leaning Workers’ Party won.